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Measure for Measure

Archive for the tag “diversity”

“A Man’s A Man for A’ That”… and A’ That

Today we went to Alloway to fill in a gap in the children’s cultural knowledge. We have been before but so long ago that they had forgotten. It’s the birthplace of Robert Burns and the setting for one of his most famous poems, “Tam O’Shanter”. The tale of Tam O’Shanter is a blog post for another day.

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But it so happened that in the gift shop that I stumbled upon a quote from another of his famous poems that is on my current theme of equality and diversity: “A Man’s A Man for A’ That”.

The poem is famous for many reasons, not least that it was sung at the opening of the Scottish Parliament. It was also recited by my son at a Scottish Poetry Night a couple of years ago. The boy is a legend.

The poem is about various rich and poor folk. The people with airs and graces are mocked and the honest working/serving man is raised up. At the end of the poem he concludes:

Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a’ that,)
That Sense and Worth, o’er a’ the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an’ a’ that.
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
It’s coming yet for a’ that,
That Man to Man, the world o’er,
Shall brothers be for a’ that.

The poet urges all men to pray for what he hopes is the inevitable, that common sense will win out in the end and that there will be a brotherhood of man.

Here’s a version of the poem I like:

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“Babel”: a poem

Theoretical linguistics

Theoretical linguistics (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Babel

The same, the same, the same, the same.
Unity and power;
Time to build a tower;
Brick by brick by brick by brick.
Uniform blocks not random rocks;
The same, the same, the same.

Everyone we call on understands;
Everyone we’ve gathered from every land;
Together we can build;
Together we will stand;
Together we’ll be known in every land.

Fame for us,
A name for us,
The same for us.

Dull?
DULL?
Dull.

Misunderstanding.

Varied vocabularies,
Diverse dialects:
The community, confused,
Bemused,
Abandoned the plan.

People went to places.
They cultivated cultures
And valued variety.
Contrasting and vibrant.

That made all the difference.
That settled it.

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