Lucy Vickery

Out with the auld

In Competition No. 3079 you were invited to supply a new anthem to welcome 2019, starting with the first line of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and continuing in your own way.
‘Is not the Scotch phrase “Auld lang syne” exceedingly expressive?’ wrote Robert Burns to his friend Frances Dunlop in 1788, referring to the words of an old folk song that he had heard, written down and later sent to James Johnson, who published it in the Scots Musical Museum. These days, of course, they are sung with gusto by the in-ebriated the world over on New Year’s Eve — an expression of fellowship and nostalgia.
Not much of that in the entry, needless to say. Though the occasional sliver of cheeriness (C. Paul Evans, Tim Raikes) leavened the gloom, the mood was mostly waspish and weary. The winners pocket £25 each. Happy New Year!

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind,
Twenty-eighteen’s anither year
It’s guid tae leave behind.
They talked Brexit in parliament,
Six hundred folk and a’,
And gin they talked til kingdom come,
It wouldnae gang awa.
A parcel of befuddled rogues!
Naebody kens for sure
How much and when we’ll a’ be screwed,
And whit’s it all been for.
The cup has got nae kindness in’t,
The brose is awfu’ cauld.
I’ll bet that eftir Hogmanay
The new year’s like the auld.
Brian Murdoch
Should auld acquaintance be forgot?
Each year we ask the same:
should we from habit send a card
to every listed name?
They send us one each year, so we
for fifty years or more
have done the same, with cheery words
while wond’ring what it’s for.
You went to school with him, while I
have never met the guy.
I, briefly, worked alongside her
(and always wondered: why?)
But if we drop them, will they think
we’ve died/remarried/worse?
That ‘auld acquaintance’ Christmas list
hangs round us like a curse.
D.A. Prince
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
It may be for the best.
Some friends are magic, some are not,
And some are just a pest.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in