Play Is Play For A’ That

Robert Burns Day is a fine time to share a flickr photo gallery of Scottish playgrounds. Though playgrounds per se were not part of Burns’ 18th century cultural landscape, I have a feeling that in today’s context Scotland’s Bard would be a vocal and formidable supporter of children’s right to play.

4525711335_43b32dd33e_bMake-shift Climbing Frame, Kingussie, Scotland. Photo credit – Dunnock D. License – (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Burns personified the independent mind which is also a characteristic of parents, teachers, advocates, designers, artists, playworkers, landscape architects, planners and community organizers involved in making possible creative play for kids. Free play and independent minds, I’m sure there is a correlation…

Raise a dram for Rabbie tonight and rest assured he’d be speaking out for the bairns if he were with us today. In his absence, we have the fine folks at Play Scotland to carry the torch and fight the good fight – kids everywhere have a right to play.

Here’s leaving you with a wee bit o’ Burns.

To a Mouse

Small, sleek, cowering, timorous beast,
Oh, what panic is in your breast!
You need not start away so hasty
With a hurrying scamper!
I would be loath to run and chase you,
With a murderous spade!

I’m truly sorry that Man’s dominion
Has broken Nature’s social union,
And justifies that ill opinion
Which makes you startled
At me, your poor, earth-born companion
And fellow mortal!

I doubt not that you may steal;
So what? Poor beast, you must live!
An odd ear from twenty four sheaves of corn
is a small request:
I’ll get a blessing with the rest,
And never miss it!

Your tiny housie, too, is in ruin!
Its feeble walls the winds are strewing!
And nothing now, from which to build a new one
Of foliage green!
And bleak December’s winds ensuing
Both bitter and keen!

You saw the fields laid bare and wasted
And weary Winter coming fast,
And cosy here, beneath the blast,
You thought to dwell,
Until crash! the cruel plow passed
Right through your cell.

That tiny heap of leaves and stubble (grain stalks)
Has cost you many a weary nibble!
Now you are turned out for your trouble
Without house or home (belongings),
To endure the Winter’s sleety dribble,
and frosty cold.

But Mousie, you are not alone
In proving that foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes (plans) of mice and men
Go oft astray (oft go awry)
And leave us nothing but grief and pain
Instead of promised joy!

Still, you are blessed, compared with me!
Only this moment touches you:
But oh! I backward cast my eye
On prospects turned to sadness!
And though forward I cannot see,
I guess and fear!

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