Hey Readers On the night of Shettleston SNP Burns Supper I thought I would  write my own version of one of the integral parts of the evening which is of course the toast to the nation. I have to say however I tackled it in a slightly different way from the usual toast, as instead of extolling the virtues of the scenery or taking a  constitutional position on where we should or should not be,  well not too much of one anyway, I decided to my toast personal Scotland and the communities and people who make it what it is. I have given it the title Slangevar which for our non Scottish residents is Gaelic for cheers or good health. Yes I know Burns didn’t have the Gaelic but many of us do even if in my case it’s more limited than I’d like. That said, I hope enjoy what I think is a very personal read.


To Scotland
to Glasgow
to the streets of the schemes 
to youthful hopes and teenage dreams
to winter nights that made me smile
to winners of the Danny Kyle
to Matt McGinn
to Edwin Morgan
to a fair and independent Scotland
to those with the talent
to truly create
to equal love
to hope and not hate
to late night buses
meeting chancers
to dad’s who’re convinced
there really good dancers
to woman with the vision
to speak truth to power
to memories both the sweet and the sour
to the bland the brilliant and the absurd
to the guy who told all who would listen
she’s a burd
to the night I stepped out in that gold dress
to the referendum and voting yes
to Nicola Sturgeon
to Rachel Sermanni 
to the one I’ve yet to meet and marry
to friendship’s made through ranting and rhyming
to proving life has silver linings
to still buying Tunnock’s 
to beating the cringe
to three weeks of mayhem
at the Edinburgh fringe
to Gaelic to Scots
and to all mother tongues
to believing our day will finally come
to fighting the fight
and to playing it fair
to Sammy’s The Danny’s
to night’s at Blue Chair
to honouring Burns
to traditions and culture
to knowing there is much
I have to still to discover
to so many voices I have always  respected
to my large chosen family
all of whom I’ve selected
to those who have travelled
this journey with me
I will say Slangevar
to  the Scotland I see.

@ Gayle Smith 2016


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