"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Monday 16 June 2014

Cultural Past-time.

I think my  formal education  may have been  slightly lacking.

I learned nothing really  relevant about Spartans and their connection to democracy.

 We  were not  even fully exposed to  our national bard, Robbie Burns . He was no Spartan.

We learned a few of his innocuous poems but of his more robust offerings little and nothing much about the man himself.  Except that he was local talent.

I took it upon myself later in life  to learn what there is to know.

Scots as we know are hard as the granite they come from.

 But Rabbie the man, can be counted on to bring a tear to the eye of the toughest.

I have stood in the attic room he lived in for a while in his teens.

In a cobbled street called the Glasow Vennel. My mother lived on that street.

I've looked out his window and saw what he saw. A building occupied  in his time by a woman  who formed a religion based on free sex.

Not unlike Dorian Baxter's  church symbolising idolatry of Elvis Presley.

Rab had a strong predilection for that particular faith.  As noted  already. he was
no Spartan.

The woman was eventually and literally run out of town.

I have eaten in the  Ship Inn , a pub at the harbour where Rab and his pals hung out of an evening
drinking and carousing. He was seventeen at the time . Not much different to youths of his age of any time.

He had  apprenticed as a thresher with a relative. Rab's small investment was notrealized   and he had to go back to farming.

He wrote an awful lot of poetry . Some of it on commission. Not all of it readable. But no living  was to be made of it , despite the hoi poloi who sought him out.

He died when he was 39 years old . He had just gotten a government  appointment that might have made a difference if he'd lived longer.

He left a wife with a houseful of children for his brother Gilbert to look  after. Apparently also  a number of others scattered hither and thither.

And poems recited the world over in myriad languages, a variety of  cultures  and  universally revered for the sentiment expressed.

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