Robert Burns’ Poetry Competition 2017
‘The best laid plans o’ mice and men gang aft agley’, ‘For Auld Lang Syne’ and ‘My Love is like a Red, Red Rose’ are words that slip off the tongue so readily. Yet, do we all know that these iconic lines were penned by none other than a mere pauper? Or that they were written well over 200 years ago? How surprising that these lines have persisted and been so tenacious in their existence.
Robert Burns is Scotland’s National Bard and his very lines will no doubt be echoed around the world this New Year at the most opulent celebrations, as well as the more pedestrian. As such, Northampton School for Boys hosted the second Robert Burns’ Poetry Recital Competition to honour his work and memory.
Eleven competitors form Northampton School for Boys, Northampton School for Girls, Northampton High School, Brixworth Primary School, Pitsford Primary School and Bridgewater Primary School took part, reciting poems such as ‘My Love is Like A Red, Red Rose’, ‘Handsome Nell’ to the more testing works such as ‘To A Mouse’, ‘To The Toothache’ and ‘To A Louse’. For the average adult, this is a challenging task so I was in awe of the students who tackled the poems. With students as young as eight, we were truly blown away and mesmerised by their talent.
The event was well hosted by Felix Grover in Year 11 and Deniz De Barros in Year 13 who worked hard to enlighten us about the life and times of Robert Burns, as well as introducing the three judges.
The performances lasted for well over an hour and the judging took nearly as long, such was the competitive standard. James Russell from Pitsford Primary in Year 5 clinched the primary prize, with Laura Charles in second place. Chloe Walding in Year 7 from NSG claimed the senior prize with our very own Vinh Thi in Year 8 as very close runner up - a role reversal from last year. We very much look forward to next year, as this pair of senior competitors are a real tour de force.
As a Scot, it is a real privilege to witness such prowess and celebration of the work of Robert Burns. A wee bit of winter cheer to warm us all on a bitter night was much needed!
I leave you all with one of my most favourite lines from Burns:
‘Oh the gift that God would gie us, to see the world as ithers see us.’