'Freedom and Whisky gang thegither' wrote our National Bard and he
could have also added that Scotland and Poetry gang thegither. Poetry
has for many centuries played a major part in Scottish life and it is
certainly no coincidence that the generally recognised greatest Scot
of all time is our National Bard, Robert Burns. And Scotland now has
her own poet laureate, a National Maker, Edwin Morgan, appointed by
Scotland's First Minister.Like Robert Burns, Edwin Morgan is a
believer in Scottish Independence.
For twenty years Scottish poetry has had its own library and visitors
to Edinburgh should take the opportunity to visit the home of Scottish
poetry, the Scottish Poetry Library, in the Canongate. The splendid
building which houses a magnificent collection of poetry is one of the
finest examples of modern Scottish archtecture. A step or two from the
Poetry Library will take you to the grave of Robert Fergusson in the
Canongate Kirkyard - his headstone was paid for by Robert Burns.
Poetry will feature at two events this weekend in Fife. St Andrews
hosts the annual StAnza Poetry Festival from Thursday 18 March to
Sunday 21 March 2004. The four day poetryfest features some 44 events
and was founded in 1998. It has grown from a budget of £5,000 to
£50,000 and boasts that it attracts international artists but never
forgets its roots and encourages local emerging talent. St Andrews is
world-known as the 'Home of Golf' but for four days in March, golf
takes a backseat, as poetry takes centre-stage. Visit
for full details.
The earliest verse in Scots will be recalled at the annual
commemoration of the reign and death of Alexander III, King of Scots,
and 'The Golden Age' of Scottish history at the Alexander III Memorial
(The Black Stone) at Pettycur, Kinghorn on Sunday 21 March 2004 at
3pm. The verse, recorded in Wynton's Chronicle, looks back from the
turmoil which followed Alexander's death in 1286 and pleads for
succour for Scotland and a return to the days of plenty during the
reign of Alexander the Peaceable.
Quhen Alysandyr oure Kyng wes dede,
That Scotland led in luve and le,
Away wes sons off ale and brede,
Off wyne and wax, off gamyn and gle;
Oure gold wes changyd in to lede.
Chryst, borne in to Vyrgynyte,
Succoure Scotland and remede,
That stad [is in] perplexyte.
Speakers at the event will be former Director of the Saltire Society,
Ian Scott from Falkirk, and Broughty Ferry author and historian James
Halliday. Car parking is available at the nearby Kingswood Hotel.
A Fife recipe is an essential for this week and Largo Potato Soup is
the perfect internal heat to combat cold weather - it might just be
the ticket for the hardy souls who rally at The Black Stone in memory
of Alexander III on Sunday.
Largo Potato Soup
Ingredients : 1lb (1/2 kg) neck of mutton; 4 pints (2 L) water; 4 oz
(125 g) chopped carrots; 1 1/4 lb (625 g) chopped onions; 1 1/2 lb
(750 g) sliced potatoes; salt and pepper
Garnish - chopped parsley
Put the mutton in a pan with water. Bring to the boil and skim. Add
carrots and onions, season with salt and pepper and simmer for two
hours. Add the potatoes thirty minutes before the end. Lift out meat,
remove bones and any excess fat. Chop up finely and return to the
soup. Chech seasoning and serve garnished with parsley.