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1st Place: A Robbie Burns Supper in Saudi Arabia

Marjory Woodfield, 1st Place Published Adult, Robert Burns Poetry Competition 2018 —

by Marjory Woodfield

Aisling is in the kitchen. Al Yamama Compound. Villa 279. She is preparing the Haggis. Not to be confused with Haggis-the-dog who is waiting by the door. Barking at passing cats, wanting a walk. In Villa 235 Nancy-Lou applies a second layer of foundation, blue eye-shadow, lipstick to match the red ribbon in her hair. She knows she will be the bee’s knees, though she has never heard of Robbie Burns.

Martin wears his kilt with a flourish. Says Robbie Burns’ grace. Some hae meat an canna eat and some wad eat that want it but we hae meat and we can eat and so the lord be thankit. Soup course. Cock-a-Leekie. Martin stands. Holds up a long knife. Recites Address to the Haggis. Waves the silver blade through the air, plunges it into the Haggis. Sliced through from end to end. Nancy-Lou gasps. He proposes a toast. We fill our glasses with Perrier. Aisling serves Haggis w tatties an neeps. Haggis-the-dog has disappeared.

Bronwen sings O my Luve’s like a red red rose that’s newly sprung in June. Her voice is raspy. The tune not sweet. She says she spends every day shouting at students. It’s ruined her voice. Helen recites Ha! Whare ye gaun ye crawlin ferlie. The words trip over her tongue but she has worked hard to make it as dramatic as possible. Nancy-Lou laughs in the wrong places.

We stand, link hands and sing. We twa hae run about the braes, and pou’d the gowans fine; But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit, sin' auld lang syne. Nancy-Lou walks home with Bobby. She is not sure about Haggis but wasn’t the rest of it fun.