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Wait patiently and take care of your health, being especially careful to keep yourself from low spirits which are great enemies to health.

— John Keats, April 12 1820.


A friend in Edinburgh sent me this as a response to the Coronavirus pandemic from Pam Ayres (Remember the poetess Pam Ayres? Well, she’s 73 and still going strong). However, I’ve been contacted by someone who drew my attention to the following Twitter by the lady herself to say that the real author of this piece is one Jan Beaumont. I’m glad to correct that error and give a correct attribution.

“This poem seems to be everywhere attributed to me but it isn’t mine, it’s by Jan Beaumont.”


I’m normally a social girl
I love to meet my mates
But lately with the virus here
We can’t go out the gates.

You see, we are the ‘oldies’ now
We need to stay inside
If they haven’t seen us for a while
They’ll think we’ve upped and died.

They’ll never know the things we did
Before we got this old
There wasn’t any Facebook
So not everything was told.

We may seem sweet old ladies
Who would never be uncouth
But we grew up in the 60s –
If you only knew the truth!

There was sex and drugs and rock ‘n roll
The pill and miniskirts
We smoked, we drank, we partied
And were quite outrageous flirts.

Then we settled down, got married
And turned into someone’s mum,
Somebody’s wife, then nana,
Who on earth did we become?

We didn’t mind the change of pace
Because our lives were full
But to bury us before we’re dead
Is like a red rag to a bull!

So here you find me stuck inside
For four weeks, maybe more
I finally found myself again
Then I had to close the door!

It didn’t really bother me
I’d while away the hour
I’d bake for all the family
But I’ve got no flaming flour!

Now Netflix is just wonderful
I like a gutsy thriller
I’m swooning over Idris
Or some random sexy killer.

At least I’ve got a stash of booze
For when I’m being idle
There’s wine and whiskey, even gin
If I’m feeling suicidal!

So let’s all drink to lockdown
To recovery and health
And hope this awful virus
Doesn’t decimate our wealth.

We’ll all get through the crisis
And be back to join our mates
Just hoping I’m not far too wide
To fit through the flaming gates!

Allan Ramsay verses contributed by Prof. Murray Pittock

Then let the Doosarts fash’d wi’ Spleen
Cast up the wrang Side of their Een,
Pegh, fry and grin wi’ Spite and Teen,
And fa a flyting,
Laugh, for the lively Lads will screen
Us frae Back-biting (Allan Ramsay)

Wow Man, that’s unco’ sad- Is that ye’re Jo
Has ta’en the Strunt?Or has some Bogle-bo
Glowrin frae ‘mang auld Waws gi’en ye a Fleg?
Or has some dawted Wedder broke his leg? (Ramsay)

Bessy Bell and Mary Gray
They are twa bonny Lasses,
They bigg’d a Bower on yon Burn-brae
And theek’d it o’we wi’ Rashes (Ramsay)

The mavis, nightingale and lark,
The bleeting lambs and whistling hynd
In ilka dale, green, shaw and park
Will nourish health, and glad ye’r mind…(Ramsay)

Good Claret best keeps out the Cauld
And drives away the Winter soon,
It makes a Man baith gash and bauld
And heaves his Saul beyond the Moon (Ramsay)

Then let us grip our Bliss mair sicker
And tape our Heal, and sprightly Liquor
Which sober table makes Wit the quicker
And Sense mair keen…(Ramsay)

And for Tartan Day:
Ye Caledonian Beauties, who have long
Been both my Muse, and Subject of my Song,
Assist your Bard, who now in smoothest Lays
Designs the Glory of your PLAID to raise (Ramsay, ‘Tartana’)

A train of Belles adorn’d with something new,
And even of ancient Prudes there were a few,
Who were refresh’d with Scandal and with Tea,
Which for a Space set them from Vapours free. (Ramsay, Content)⁦‪

Thus Europeans Indians rifle,
And give them for their Gowd some Trifle;
As Deugs of Velvet, Chips of Christal,
A Facon’s Bell, or Baubie Whistle
(Ramsay, The Rise and Fall of Stocks)

Blessed be his name, who hath appointed the quiet night to follow the busy day, and the calm sleep to refresh the wearied limbs and to compose the troubled spirit.” – Sir Walter Scott

Old Strevline, thou stand’st beauteous on the height… Thy distant mountains spiring to the sky, Seem blended with the mansions of the blest… Like thrones of angels hung upon the welkin’s breast’ (James Hogg) @Val_Bold

Nothing like light on the hills, in Ettrick or elsewhere (James Hogg) (@JamesHogg250)

From Michael Dempster

He panned the windaes in on the shelter. The soond o the gless sklinkin aff the flagstanes wis lik the angels theirsels wis playin the bells. In that shatterin moment he existit, he wis alive. Let the warld hear wi explosions o freedom, the curfew is ower! We won!

Kathleen O’Meara’s poem, ‘And People Stayed Home,’ written in 1869, after the famine. Contributed by Guy Walters



and people stayed home
and read books
and listened
and rested and exercised
and made art and played
and learned new ways of being
and stopped
and listened deeper
someone meditated
someone prayed
someone danced
someone met their shadow
and people began to think differently
and people healed
and in the absence of people who lived
in ignorant ways, dangerous, meaningless and heartless,
even the earth began to heal
and when the danger ended
and people found each other
grieved for the dead people
and they made new choices
and dreamed of new visions
and created new ways of life
and healed the earth completely
just as they were healed themselves.

Twitter: YourScottishBorders@YourScotBorders “When true friends meet in an adverse hour, tis like a sunbeam through a shower.” – Sir Walter Scott

In Neil M. Gunn’s THE SILVER DARLINGS, set in a 19th-century Highland fishing community, a cholera outbreak prompts villagers to resort to older folk-magic: extinguishing the ever-burning hearth fires & relighting them from a newly kindled flame

#FolkloreThursday pic.twitter.com/NBpYLArAQr  

Playing at Dundee lockdown

You ken these streets were
always the seagulls’ by right,
we were just guests here

Under layers of time
even the mills stop clanking,
ships halt in the firth

Mist clears on the bridge,
a train waiting empty to
turn back disaster  

Sent in by Erin Farley

Tweet by Keats Foundation on Twitter

Their scantly leaved, and finely tapering stems,
Had not yet lost those starry diadems
Caught from the early sobbing of the morn.

Fifteen Million Plastic Bags

A poem by Adrian Mitchell, set to music by Leon Rosselson in ?1968 –ish

Sent in by Dave Stephenson of Milton Bridge. A reminder that we have been through grim times before when we did not know what to expect next day let alone three weeks time. In this Adrian Mitchell poem it was the Cold War and the threat of nuclear extinction.

© Jonathan Cape Ltd, London WC1

I was walking in a government warehouse,

Where the daylight never goes,

I saw fifteen million plastic bags

Hanging in a thousand rows.

Five million bags were six feet long,

Five million bags were five foot five,

Five million were stamped with Mickey Mouse

And they came in a smaller size.

Were they for guns or uniforms

Or a kinky kind of party game?

Then I saw each bag had a number

And every bag bore a name.

And five million bags were six feet long,

Five million bags were five foot five,

Five million were stamped with Mickey Mouse

And they came in a smaller size.

So I’ve taken my bag from the hanger

And I’ve pulled it over my head

And I’ll wait for the priest to zip it

So the radiation won’t spread.

Now five million bags are six feet long,

Five million bags are five foot five,

Five million are stamped with Mickey Mouse

And they come in a smaller size.