Friday, October 3, 2014

Orcadian poet commemorates John Rae's arrival at Westminster



After the dedication ceremony at Westminster Abbey, back at the Scottish office in Dover House,  Orcadian poet Harvey Johnston read a wonderful, Burnsian poem entitled Rae in the Abbey. He graciously agreed to let me publish part of it. The final four stanzas run as follows. I have no photo of Johnston, but the above image of Our Hero captures the spirit of the thing:



Cheust like the Cree and Inuit
He’d grown tae understand
Ye work wi’ watter, wind and wave
Tae live aff sea and land.
 

Wi’ snowshoes, long strides and a gun
Up North wi’ dog and sledge
He learned the fate o’ Franklin
Bae the cruel Arctic’s edge.

And on he strode tae find the strait
Weel named on maps ye view
The final strait Amundsen sailed
The North West Passage through.

Wan hunder noo, and sixty years
Hiv passed by since that day
High time indeed, that in This Place
We mark the name of Rae.

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