Sunday, November 08, 2020

Samuel Thomson of Carngranny, 1799

I used to watch, read and listen to a lot of news. But I've tried to avoid as much of it as realistically possible since early in 2020,  sair scunnert with sensationalist coverage and confected online outrage intended to sustain clicks and audience figures, to emotionally recruit us to far-distant disputes, or to make us feart o plagues tae lay oor hames. We like to think that we are special, and that polarisation and fear-driven helplessness are new phenomena. We like to make ourselves the centre of the universe, which we can do because we know so little about the past. Well, here is Samuel Thomson from 1799 –

But soon as kittle politicks
Amang our cracks begin to mix,
The settling clouds o’ anger fix
On every brow;
We curse the wars — wish broken necks,
What can we do?

From his poem Listen Lizie, Lilting to Tobacco.