The Heaven-born Ploughman
Remembered in life for his gallavanting,
his getting-with- child of too many women,
he’s remembered in death as a saint of the
people, this impoverished farmer of land
and wealthy farmer of words.
Dubbed the “people’s poet” in Russia:
his Scottish face reproduced on a
Russian postage stamp ten years
before the production of two commemorative
British ones: fourpence & one and threepence.
Further portraiture fame came from the
Clydesdale Bank, on a five-pound note
(the reverse a field mouse and a rose):
the once impoverished poet
more profitable in death than life.
Remembered in places far-flung,
his antipodean statue - seagulls seated on his
head – commands by place its status as
centrepiece to the Writers’ Walk
circumferencing Dunedin’s Octagon.
Like Mozart, like Schubert, like Chopin –
short-lived Masters of musical sound,
Burns was short-lived Master of the verbal:
rhythmic and wry, rustic, sincere, and
spontaneous heaven-born ploughman.