January 27, 2013

Burns Supper, 2013: Toast To The Lassies Revised

The dirge of winter upon us, we were happy to be invited to one of the season's highlights: the Robert Burns Supper.

The haggis (both traditional and veggie) were particularly tasty, and the whiskies included a Talisker, a Balvenie, two Ardbegs and a very special Bunnahabhain.

There was much delight in readings of all sorts, and even a multi-media rap extravaganza. That is not a joke, it was incredible.

Aya gave an energetic and sincere rendition of the Selkirk Grace while wearing a tiny hat that she had decorated.

Keith had to find a way to up the ante on last year's sideburns.

Our starlit, effervescent Host and our robust, erudite Chairman generously invited Keith to repeat his Toast To The Lassies that he wrote for last year's Supper. That original contained some now-outdated material, so he gave it a re-working and even managed to memorize it. Here it is, with the borrowed bits glossed below:

A Toast to the Lassies.

To honour the Lassies from the heart,
I think we must really go back to the start,
While Evolution's advances may sometimes perplex us,
Its best move was our split into two different sexes,

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

But we left that tangled bank1 behind,
And what a pleasure, then, to find,
The act of mating befits the Id2,
Far more than parthenogenesis3 did,

It has been the root of all our thriving,
As we've increased it's been rhythmically driving,
Over aeons, our selections;
Selfish genes4 cloaked in affections,

Now here is Mars, and here is Venus,
And vive la difference between us,
This twinkling binary constellation
Illuminates our primal fascination,

Man's life is enriched by these cherished Others,
Friends, sisters, lovers, wives and mothers,
He's charmed by their wild and graceful eccentricity5,
And clumsily joins in an eager 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 a Lad reciprocates with pleasure,

For every man quietly comes to know,
Whether or not he lets it show,
That without Woman there is no Man,
Woman is, therefore I am,

So Eilidh, Shawna, Tracey, Janet,
And Aya (the origin of life upon my planet),
Please take this crude communication,
As pure and deep appreciation,

I've made this project too complex,
While that's a birthright of my sex,
My caveman forebears doubtless would,
Have simply grunted, "woman good",

And now the toast at last is here,
Raise your whisky, wine or beer,
And as we 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



  1. Truly excellent. You are even forgiven for using artistic license in your astronomical constellations.

    1. Thanks!
      The history of man's interpretation of objects in the night sky is long, convoluted, and riddled with drunken poetry.

  2. Well done sir! You certainly raise the bar each year with your rhymin, and your blimmin' memorizin'.
    It was an honour to share the evening with you. An honor, even. Wha's like us? Damn few, and they're aw deid.

  3. Extremely clever and entertaining Toast to the Lassies, Keith. Nice work. I only wish I could have heard it.

    And Aya's hat is sublime. Nice job, Aya!

    Great report on what must have been a superb evening. Thanks!

    - Rob


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