January 25 is Robbie Burns Day which is celebrated in many English-speaking parts of the world. Here in Canada, there are traditional celebrations as well as some wonderfully hybrid ones like Gung Haggis Fat Choy started in Vancouver by Todd Wong. Of course, the celebrations center on the beloved Scots poet, Robert Burns whose work is widely recited that day. Hand in Hand We’ll Go: Ten Poems by Robert Burns (illustrated by Nonny Hogrogian, Thomas E. Crowell Company, 1965) is an introduction for children to the Scottish bard’s most famous poems such as “A Red, Red Rose” from which come the immortal lines “And I will luve thee still, my dear,/Till a’ the seas gang dry.” At the back of the book is a short glossary of Scottish terms. One of my favorite terms was ‘cranreuch’ for hoar-frost — the sight of which makes Canadian winters seem magical if not too ‘cauld’ for one’s liking!
I have yet to go to a Robbie Burns night here in Canada, but I certainly enjoyed getting a taste of his poetry in Hand in Hand We’ll Go, which by the way, is beautifully illustrated with woodcuts by Caldecott medal-winning artist Nonny Hogrogian. It’s a book well worth seeking out for a wintry January read.
Poetry Friday this week is hosted by Jim at Hey, Jim Hill.