It’s the 25th of January again and I am off out tonight to eat haggis and Reply to the Toast to the Lasses.I am not what Burns would have described as a lass. He liked his female companions to be wanton,voluptuous and bowled over by his charms. I am old enough and wise enough to be none of these.
Burns’ portrayed older women as hen pecking harridans, nursing their wrath to keep it warm and giving out unwanted advice – “Ah, gentle dames! it gars we greet, To think how mony consels sweet, How mony lengthened, sage advices, The husband frae the wife despises.”
He did not make old bones, being only 37 when he died. Had he survived into old age, I like to think that he might have written a love song to his long suffering wife, Jean Armour. It wouldn’t have been too taxing – he could have adapted one of his originals.As he never lived to do it, I’ve taken the liberty and done it for him –
A Love Song to the Elderly Jean
My love is like a slice of bread
Left too long in the air,
My love is like wrinkled prune
Sprouting facial hair.
Your chest’s gone south, my wrinkly friend,
Your beam is getting broader,
Your bunions make you hirple now,
A new hip is in order.
I have to shout to make you hear,
You need your specs to read,
You forget unless it’s written down,
You’ve really gone to seed.
(Ever the romantic, I would have hoped he might finish like this – )
The seas has not gang dry m’dear,
Rocks melted not by sun.
My love for you endures, my dear
Tho’ sands of time have run.
Jean Armour in old age