Saturday, April 08, 2006

Aimee downstairs, though a writer, absolutely hates poetry. "I only do prose," she once told me.

How funny to find her in her cubicle reciting this in her best Sco?ish accent:

To a Haggis

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the pudding-race!
Aboon them a' yet tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o'a grace
As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin was help to mend a mill
In time o'need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An' cut you up wi' ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin', rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an' strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Bethankit! hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad make her spew
Wi' perfect sconner,
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckles as wither'd rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash;
His nieve a nit;
Thro' blody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll mak it whissle;
An' legs an' arms, an' hands will sned,
Like taps o' trissle.

Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer
Gie her a haggis!

-Robert Burns, 1786


Never tried Haggis before, but anything that's had an ode penned to it by a bard has to be food of the gods. The foods claimed by my forebears, kishka and lutefisk, don't have quite the cache, but are still quite good (if you ignore what's in them).


Dr Bob said...

Frankly, I think that haggis is overrated -- it also turns out that it can't be sent from UK to USA (I tried) -- however, if you're really interested, there's some info here:


Be said...

Most sausages are overrated, but people develop (deep, sometimes irrational) emotional attachments to them. I particularly love two kinds of kielbasa which are very hard to find where I live. Every once in a while, my mother will mail me a kishka (which amuses my coworkers to no end - she sends it to the office).

I'm very intrigued by the vegetarian version of the haggis as the normal version sounds pretty fattening and I have to watch the cholesterol now. Would be fun to try that.

Thanks for the Link!