January 29, 2012

Burns Supper: Selkirk Grace and Toast to the Lassies

Burns Supper, 2012

Last year we attended our first Burns Supper and it was a grand evening of traditional food, poems, protocol and whisky. We were lucky enough to be invited back this year, and this is the first post about that wonderful evening.

Aya was given the honour of opening the evening by reciting The Selkirk Grace.

We kept it traditional, but with one small, important word change.

Some hae meat and canna eat,
   And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
   Sae let the Good be thankit. 

 Keith was invited to prepare a Toast To The Lassies and addressed the challenge in as manly a fashion as possible.

Keith's Toast To The Lassies:

Before any toasting is done, we thank our starlit and effervescent Host, Eilidh, for bringing these much-anticipated Robert Burns Suppers together, taking up the Sisyphean task of communications and bridging the gap between our unfathomable ignorance and what needs to get bloody-well done.

Brian, our Chairman, we thank you, too, and I pledge to honour you with two masculine adjectives to be named later, most likely after my third whisky*. For while it is Eilidh who assigned me this privilege, it is Brian who forwarded me the trust to properly toast the Lassies in his presence, and for that I am truly grateful.

I must also give a nod and a wink to Greg, who last year showed us how this toast should be done. He navigated his way through the challenge with wit, warmth and sincerity, lit only by the light of his i-Pad. It is a fool who would try to follow that act, but a greater fool who would ignore the path carved by his success.

And now a Toast to the Lassies.

To properly toast the Lassies at heart,
I think we must really go back to the start,
Of all successes that evolution suggests,
Splitting into two sexes was surely the best,

None of us here, of course, can remember,
What life was like before there was gender,
Think of the emptiness, the complete perversity,
Of Earth in the days before biodiversity,

We left the tangled bank behind,
And what a pleasure then to find,
That mating benefits the Id,
Far more than parthenogenesis did,

Now, stereotypes about who's in control,
Are neither accurate nor droll,
No jokes from me about who makes the decisions,
Lest the coming Reply roast me through with derision,

Fair, gentle and loving” may be the cliché,
But we must agree, in the name of fair play,
That Lassies are not always as sweet as they seem,

Men's lives are enriched by these cherished Others,
Friends, sisters, lovers, wives and mothers,
We Lads are charmed into clumsy domesticity,

To a marriage a Lassie brings what she will,
Her blend of strength and passion and skill,
She offers her self, her sincerest treasure,
And man reciprocates with pleasure,

For every man quietly comes to know,
Whether or not he lets it show,
Without Woman there is no Man,
We say “Woman is, therefore I am”,

So Eilidh, Shawna, Tracey, Janet,
And Aya, my favourite on this or any planet,
Let this crude communication,
Show only our appreciation,

I've made this project too complex,
Is that the birthright of my sex?
My caveman forebears doubtless would,
Have made the point with “woman good”,

And now the toast is here at last,
We're one step nearer our repast**,
And as you drink, don't think me rude,
If I ask that we might all include,

Not just the Lassies in our quorum,
But all their kin who've gone before 'em,
Their living faces freshly bloom,
In every flower in this room.

To the Lassies!

©Keith Ikeda-Barry

*Brian's masculine adjectives, as pledged:

**Keith mistakenly thought the toast preceded the main course.


  1. The poem is brilliant, and I loved the HAIR reference. The sideburns were genius.

    As I write this, I'm looking down at the word verification that I will have to match. You know, those distorted non-words you have to decipher in order to prove you are not a spambot. The word is 'feerb', and I can't help but think you might have used it in your poem.

  2. Thanks, S! Glad you got the Hair ref. There is so much in that song that fit the toast.

    Remember kids, I am your friend.

    You may be onto something with Captcha poetry.


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