Sunday, January 16, 2011
Romance and Burns Night
Robert Burns is the poet laureate of Scotland, and the entire world celebrates his poetry this month. Burn's Night is a great excuse for most of us to wear a kilt, have a dram of whisky, hear the bagpipes, and generally enjoy an evening of friends and song. But there is more going on here. Romance is celebrated on Burn's Night. I think the romantic soul should be celebrated every night. It's much bigger than that flush of sexual attraction and the joy at just being in the presence of someone who makes you feel alive and safe and in love...even though those feelings are among the very best in the human experience. That kind of romance is ageless, and can be felt and shared by teenagers and octogenarians alike. But in the imperfect world, romance is a choice of focus for men and women. This is where I could go completely off topic and discuss the difference between boys and men, and girls and women...but suffice it to say that men and women see a bigger picture of sacrifice and loss, and still choose romance. Matthew Arnold wrote about that choice in his poem Dover Beach, as a soldier is remembering his country and family before engaging in battle...
Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
The world of Robert Burns was no different than now in regards to the condition of mankind, but he reminds us of the beauty of nature, the common experiences of being a man, and certainly the importance of romance as a very real choice and focus. We all know 'that' married couple that have been through hardship and loss and still choose love...still choose beauty. They are the adult romantics, and have that richness of character in their relationships that we all should aspire to. So raise your dram of scotch to your lover and choose romance on Burn's Night and every night thereafter.
A Red, Red Rose
O my Luve is like a red, red rose
That's newly sprung in June;
O my Luve is like the melody
That's sweetly played in tune.
So fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will have thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.
Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun;
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.
And fare thee weel, my only luve!
And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my luve,
Though it were ten thousand mile. Robert Burns