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“The only thing I’d really like to be.”

By Travis Nichols

Comin thro’ the rye, poor body,
  Comin thro’ the rye,
She draigl’t a’ her petticoatie
  Comin thro’ the rye.

Oh Jenny ‘s a’ weet poor body
  Jenny ‘s seldom dry,
She draigl’t a’ her petticoatie
  Comin thro’ the rye.

Gin a body meet a body
  Comin thro’ the rye,
Gin a body kiss a body —
  Need a body cry.

Gin a body meet a body
  Comin thro’ the glen;
Gin a body kiss a body —
  Need the warld ken!

        “Comin Thro’ The Rye” by Robert Burns

Comments (10)

  • On January 28, 2010 at 6:15 pm Kent Johnson wrote:

    It’s interesting to note that Robert Burns was a rabid supporter of the slave trade.

  • On January 29, 2010 at 8:40 pm thom donovan wrote:

    I am wondering how to pronounce “draigl’t a’”–that “gl” most difficult…

    and thinking of Duncan’s muthologies…

    were you inspired to post this poem for any particular reason Travis?

    the mind goes wild with association. especially via sound…

  • On January 30, 2010 at 11:51 am Stephen Sturgeon wrote:

    He posted it because Salinger died.


  • On January 31, 2010 at 11:37 am Annie FInch wrote:

    Great to see this here, posted ipso facto in honor not only of of Salinger’s deathday but also of Robbie Burns’ birthday two days earlier–for those who don’t know, a huge national and global celebration of the poet and of Scotland. It’s one of my favorite Burns poems (I have another posted for the occasion at my blog AmericanWitch http://annieridleycranefinch.blogspot.com/)

    This has one of the best singing tunes of any of his poems imho, and it is one of the relatively few where female sexuality is celebrated in its own right..it really feels like a poem that could have been written by Jenny herself, coming through dew-wet fields early in the morning to slip into bed after a night out.

    Thanks, Travis!

  • On February 1, 2010 at 10:34 am james stotts wrote:

    not just because salinger died, but as a belated reminder of robbie burns day, too, that’s right, annie. you’re not but senseless asses.
    a death, even if it comes as late as jerry’s (he was 91), is significant becauses it is the end of his authority.

    by the way, annie, he was a great women’s writer in other very singable songs–remember ‘green grow the rashes’: ‘the wisest man the world e’er saw, he dearly loved the lasses’ and ‘auld nature swears, her lovely dears/her noblest work she classes/her prentice han’ she tried on man/an’ then she made the lasses.’
    and john anderson is the prime example of singing the other part. sorry, to go on, but when it’s your favorite writer…

  • On February 1, 2010 at 10:58 am Don Share wrote:

    Kent, how, then, to explain Burns’s poem, “The Slave’s Lament” of 1792, in which he gives voice to a Senegalese man enslaved in Virginia? As B.’s biographer Robert Crawford remarks, it may seem “an odd poem from a white poet who might well have gone [but did not] to help manage a Jamaican plantation, but it was in tune with growing and widespread unease” with the slave trade. The poem counts among its admirers Maya Angelou, who calls it “a perfect example of the ways in which a poet transcends race, time and place.”

    None of which is intended to downplay in the slightest all the troubling things about Burns, but to show that things are a bit more complicated than your name-calling lets on. And if we’re looking for character flaws, his treatment of women – which you didn’t mention – is extremely troubling.

  • On February 1, 2010 at 1:28 pm Stephen Sturgeon wrote:

    Just because Salinger died.


  • On February 7, 2010 at 8:46 am Annie FInch wrote:

    that may well be so, Stephen– But then, who’s to say that Salinger didn’t die at that time because it was near Burns’ birthday….

  • On February 7, 2010 at 8:55 am Annie FInch wrote:

    or not.

    thank you james for evoking those other glorious songs/poems…

    By the way, here’s a quote from Franny and Zooey, which I bought by coincidence and decided to read for the first time a week before JDS passed….

    “I know this much, is all,” Franny said. “If you’re a poet, you do something beautiful. I mean you’re supposed to leave something beautiful after you get off the page and everything. The ones you’re talking about don’t leave a single, solitary thing beautiful. All that maybe the slightly better ones do is get inside your head and leave something there, but just because they do, just because they know how to leave something, it doesn’t have to be a poem, for heaven’s sake. It may just be some kind of terribly fascinating, syntaxy droppings—excuse the expression.”

  • On February 9, 2010 at 11:01 am Annie FInch wrote:

    …. meaning, I think, that Franny would definitely have considered Burns a poet.

Posted in Uncategorized on Thursday, January 28th, 2010 by Travis Nichols.