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Donny’s stories Thursday, 21 January 2010

Posted by carryapoem in Stories.
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For thirty five years now, wherever I go in the world, I carry in my head and heart, ready at any socially apt and propitious moment to be sung, two songs by Burns, ‘A Red Red Rose‘ and ‘Wantonness’. This last gives the title to Liam McIlvanney’s new novel and I have published, in The Waist Band, a poem listing all the places and situations in which I have performed it. The long list has lengthened since.

Also ready to go, like a bag one keeps hopefully and prudently packed, whether for the hospital or the gadabout’s next giddy jaunt, are Soutar’s, ‘The Tryst’, which I know in two settings, by Dave Whyte and Jimmy MacMillan respectively, each contrastingly sublime. In addition, I keep Larry Hart’s, ‘My Funny Valentine’, pretty close to the tip of my tongue. So yes, I never leave home without a poem, but, no, picking just one is a tall order to which my either AND, appetitive amplitude is inclined to give short shrift. Why carry a quiver containing just one arrow… Push coming to shove however?… Oh… Well… ‘Wantoness’ I suppose, a lyric master piece the bard wrote just to preserve the tune. And to consult, quote or offer it to the ceilidh, I don’t even need to riffle through my pocket, bag or wallet: learned by heart right enough…

Donny O’Rourke is a poet, journalist, teacher, broadcaster

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