Tracy Harvey – Eiks and Eins about the Bard – 12 March 2019

After her recent, well-received, contribution to our Burns Supper, Tracy Harvey returned to the club to entertain us some more with her tribute to Burns through a selection of her own poems.

Tracy started by explaining that her own interest in Scots poetry and Burns came late and that as an adolescent she was more inspired by the likes of Bob Dylan and Roger McGough. However, she became aware of her latent talent when she left school to work in the mental health sector and found she was able to entertain workmates and patients alike with her own brand of Scots poetry (“in ma ain accent”).

Then Tracy took us through a highly-polished rendition of a few of her poems, mostly through the experiences of women, whilst relating these to the life and loves of Burns. Her first offering was “The Missus” which was Tracy’s amusing take on the way Burns had treated his future wife, Jean Armour, as seen through the eyes of Jean herself.

Next Tracy explained Burns’ fascination for poetry written in the Standard Habbie, six-line stanza and demonstrated this form in “Tae a bus-pass” inspired by Burns’ “Address to a Haggis”. Tracy was of the opinion that a similar poem by Burns, the widely popular “To a Mouse, written in the same style, is a metaphor for his own share of human grief, despair and tragedy. Then she described how Tam-o-Shanter was probably influenced by Auld Betty Davidson, a friend of the family and frequent visitor to the auld clay biggin in Alloway where she intrigued her young listener with tales of warlocks and witches.

Lastly Tracy recited her poem “Betty an’ Leanne” (Thru the Wa) about two female neighbours who “took care” of each other. This was essentially a poem about humanity, something which Burns held dear.

Kenneth Dickie, in his vote of thanks, praised Tracy’s gift of composing poetry and her very listenable delivery before venturing that Burns and Tracy would surely have been great friends had they been contemporaries.