When I entered the ministry, I quickly learned three interrelated lessons:

  1. Priesthood involves a lot of acting, particularly acting confident when one feels anything but.
  2. Expect the unexpected. And be prepared.
  3. One will often be asked to do things which are far, far beyond one’s comfort zone. Get over it. Humiliation is part of the job.



Yesterday was the Burns Night at the Scots Hotel. A week ago, I was called into the manager’s office. ‘You’ll do the grace’, he told me. Yup. I expected that. ‘And pour the whisky on the haggis.’ No problem. ‘And you’ll do the reply from the lassies’. Say what?!

I came home and cried. Because the Reply requires a level of clever humour and extroversion I simply do not have.

A couple of days later, I was in the shower (where I have all my moments of epiphany), and a few lines of really bad, ridiculous verse came to me, and the words I needed just appeared.


I trust most of you dear readers know me well enough not to judge me too harshly on this post. Thank you.

So without further ado, here is what I said:

It’s come to me, this daunting task
to give a reply, as a lass.
It’s hard to know just what to say.
I worry I’ll give too much away.
As a priest, I am free from sin
And don’t acquaint with naughty men.

I married well with no regrets
He does not drink, he makes no bets,
he doesn’t cheat, he doesn’t smoke
I’m awfully blessed to have this bloke.

But other men … my friends do tell
I’ve heard that they behave not well.
Dear Rabbie Burns was such a one
He loved all girls under the sun.
His tender words and roving hands
His love of drink and one-night stands.

Too many men walk the same path
into the pub to women’s wrath.
They wonder why they’re shunned and spurned
with lines like, ‘You’re so hot you burn’.
Boys, is that the best you’ve got?
Too much whisky leads brains to rot.

Women prefer a subtler touch
Some clever chat, a fancy lunch.
Prove to us you’ve read lots of books
And not just bought them for their looks.

There are ideas you ought to know
And actually use, for more than show.
Equal pay for equal work?
Means just that, it’s not a perk.

Don’t dare ignore our fem’nist rants.
Being a woman can be pants.
Thousands of years of patriarchy
have left us really rather snarky.

Men, we love you. We really do.
But there’s some tact you must accrue.
There’s more to life than booze and shags
like shoes, and clothes, and nice handbags!

So come on guys, grow up a bit.
We lassies, we don’t need this …
Our life’s too short, our work’s too hard
for you to treat us like the bard.

So treat us well, be always kind
Loyalty and love, you will find.
Treat us bad, we’ll never forget
Or let you hear the last of it…

I fear I’m getting carried away
I know you’ll change … eshway eshway*
So let’s all stand and raise our glasses
In a toast to lads from lasses.


*Arabic for slowly, slowly.

16 thoughts on “burns supper

  1. I don’t know why you are saying ‘bad poetry’. It is at least as good as William McGonnigal our other national poet! And you manage to preach feminism and morality in the form of the reply, which is quite a straight jacket. I wouldn’t be surprised if this particular reply goes viral! To paraphrase the Bard ‘Weel done Kate!’

  2. Brilliant – you must have emptied the hot water tank!………OSPBurns night tomorrow will be tame after that….😏

  3. Fantastic Kate!! Absolutely bloody brilliant! Would have stolen it if I was toasting tomorrow at our Burns Night! Any joke suggestions for me as MC? Not sure how I landed that gig…

    1. How *did* you land that gig?? That would be my worst nightmare… No joke suggestions, I’m afraid. Just drink plenty of whisky (worked for me …) And good luck!

  4. Absolutely amazing, well done. Like Kimberly, I may steal it at some point (with your permission of course) though fortunately not this year as the Women’s Group are only havng a ‘Scottish Night’ rather than the usual Burns Supper so all I have to do is say grace and eat 🙂 xx

  5. ohmygosh this is amazing!! i’m supposed to speak on behalf of the lassies at our burns supper tomorrow night and i’m in a panic. would you mind if i used a variation of this? i’ll give you full credit for your spot on verse!

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