Poet Sara Letourneau said that reading poetry in the morning is like a ‘second breakfast’ for the mind. Compelling your brain to wake up and understand the meaning behind the words, what image it depicts or emotions it invokes.
I was kindly sent Burns for Every Day of the Year by Pauline Mackay from Black and White Publishing in celebration of its release. I was grateful to be given the chance to begin a daily routine of reading poetry after hearing the many benefits of the activity. Mackay also includes a variety of his prose and songs, thoughtfully enriching them through careful storytelling, bringing context to those beginning their Burns journey. For those just dipping their toes into the Scots language, or an aficionado to the craft, it is a considerate gesture to give insight for further contemplation.
A book of poetry often lends itself to changing our perspective of the world. In so few words, poetry can emote and inspire you to consider another way of thinking or realise something new through succinct subtlety. Mackay thoughtfully curates the work of Burns to coincide with the days or season in which it intends to be read. February explores the themes of love, October dips eerily into his more supernatural writing and December contrasts with the bleakness of winter nights with the joy searched for in the festive season.
Not only does Mackay offer respite through the work of Burns, she coordinates the themes to tie with life throughout your year. Poetry that feels familiar of our surroundings, yet presents new thoughts for the time. Perhaps it might be more important than ever to give yourself a quiet moment each day, to step out of the online environment that could be doing more harm than good. Taking a minute for yourself to read something new.
To savour each word and give dedicated time to marvel its power.
Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o’fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ pray’r,
Gie her a haggis!
To a Haggis