Address to the Haggis in England
Fair priced, your honest jolly face,
Great symbol of the Scottish race,
When first I saw you take your place
In the deli-cabinet’s glittering selection
Well, you are worthy of space
Said I; in my home’s refrigeration!
The groaning trolley there you fill
A generous portion like a distant hill,
Despite a Sassenach I have the will
To start a tradition; call it a need
To gather a party with water of life distilled
And these ancient lines to read.
With knife; (I hope I’m doing this right)
I’ll cut you up into pieces slight,
My guests look wary of the gushing entrails bright;
Shining like mud in a ditch.
We hope that this is Robbie’s glorious sight
How’d he put it? Warm-reekin’, rich?
Fork by slim, reluctant forkful they strive
To peck; ‘To keep my dream of a flat stomach alive’
And sip; ‘The devil take your Single Malt, I have to drive!’
‘More? My tum is stretched taut like a drum!’
And so excuse, by cautious excuse contrive
To imply my Scottish specialities hum.
Is there one who would not prefer a French ragout,
Or a cassoulet or Hungarian stew?
A fricassee would not make them spew;
And yet they’re already sconner’d
Refusing neeps and tatties with disdainful view
Of such a voluminous dinner.
Poor devils! Must it go for trash?
As if Burns Night parties are all so rash.
It’s an evening out and we’re low on cash;
But when it comes down to it
My guests all homeward early dash
The pudding chieftain is not so fit.
They fear the stereotype, the haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
The broken veins, the hairless head;
The bronchial whistle
Of Scotsmen marked as early dead,
The irony of the hardened thistle.
You powers that make the tastes of Waitrose your care
And dish us up our weekly shop; beware!
Middle England merely feigns to like your oaty fare.
For no matter how trendy a Burns night is
Faced with an invite, they mouth a silent prayer;
Please don’t present me with the Haggis!
Nick Barth ©2015