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Easy Burns poems for children to learn and other fun Scots verses

A Red, Red Rose is among the easier Burns poems to commit to memory.
A Red, Red Rose is among the easier Burns poems to commit to memory.

The day of our national bard can bring out the poet in us all – so here are some easier Burns poems for children to learn.

Memorising Scots verse is a great way for young ones to learn about Scotland’s culture and language and they’ll have fun reciting over a plate of haggis, neaps and tatties on Burns Night.

Some of Robert Burns’ famous works – such as Tam o’ Shanter – are wordy epics nigh impossible to commit to memory.

But here are three shorter Burns poems for children to learn and some other fun Scots poetry which families can recite together on January 25.

The Selkirk Grace

Some hae meat and canna eat.
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit!

A Red, Red Rose

O my Luve’s like a red, red rose,
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun
O I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only Luve!
And fare thee weel a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.

Ae Fond Kiss

Ae fond kiss, and then we sever;
Ae fareweel, and then forever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I’ll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I’ll wage thee.
Who shall say that Fortune grieves him,
While the star of hope she leaves him?
Me, nae cheerfu’ twinkle lights me;
Dark despair around benights me.

I’ll ne’er blame my partial fancy,
Naething could resist my Nancy;
But to see her was to love her;
Love but her, and love forever.
Had we never lov’d sae kindly,
Had we never lov’d sae blindly,
Never met—or never parted—
We had ne’er been broken-hearted.

Fare thee weel, thou first and fairest!
Fare thee weel, thou best and dearest!
Thine be ilka joy and treasure,
Peace. enjoyment, love, and pleasure!
Ae fond kiss, and then we sever;
Ae fareweel, alas, forever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears   I’ll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I’ll wage thee!

Mrs Nae Offence

(by Gregor Steele)

We cry her Mrs Nae Offence –
That’s whit she likes to say,
Afore sayin somethin awfie,
Then heidin on her way.
“Nae offence, but see yon skirt ye bocht,
It maks ye look gey fat.”

“Nae offence, ye’re like a standard lamp
When ye wear yir new blue hat.”
“Nae offence, but see yir perfume,”
She whitters like a doo,
“It minds me o thae yellae cubes
Ye get in a laddies’ loo.”
“Nae offence, but see yir hairdo,
Ye must hae been a mug
Tae fork oot twenty quid for that –
Ye look like a Pekingese dug.”
It fell upon ma granny
Tae pit her in her place.
Gran skelped her wi a brolly, sayin,
“Nae offence, but shut yir face.”

Mince and Tatties

(by JK Annand)

I dinna like hail tatties
Pit on my plate o mince
For when I tak my denner
I eat them baith at yince.
Sae mash and mix the tatties
Wi mince into the mashin,
And sic a tasty denner
Will aye be voted ‘Smashin!’

Scottish Rain

(by Tom Bryan)

Gets in yer neb, lugs,
Unner thi oxters tae.
Oan yer heid, in yer een
Til ye’re drookit ken?

An it’s aye cauld
An ages sidie-ways.
Whit, warm rain?
Nae here (mebbe in Spain).

Woke up this mornin,
Crawled oot o bed,
Keeked oot thi windae pane
Aw naw! Rainin again!

For more Burns poems and information about the poet, the Scottish Poetry Library has lots of resources. VisitScotland’s Rabbie For Kids resource also has information, poetry and activities aimed at younger children.

WATCH: Schoolchildren recite Burns poetry – the lesson that will ‘stay with them for life’

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