Burns Night

robert-burns
Went to a tartan-tastic Burns Night – our first one ever!
My mission was to tackle the ‘Reply from the Lassies’ speech, and here is my attempt.
Writing and delivering it turned out to be far less stressful than determining what to wear (ended up buying a strip of tartan material and making a sash-like thing, which makes me sound like an accomplished seamstress, which is a lie as I used the iron-on hemming stuff that I use for the kids’ school trousers’ hems.)

Reply from the lassies

As I start my speech this evening
I fear that my reply
May cause some consternation
I hope though, no outcry

A man deserves to be rebuked
(A lass is ne’er to blame)
He emailed me with his request
Colin is his name

‘I would be honoured’, so it read
‘If you’d do the ‘Reply”
‘On behalf of Lassies’, so he said
So casual, by the by.

Thus, I swiftly emailed back
To say that would be fine
It’s a shame that I had no idea
Of the stress that would be mine

I’d thought this speech was something quick
that I could find online
And print off, just before I came
And read out, at this time.

Yet only a few days ago
To Google’s aid I turned
He said I had to write my own!
None was supplied by Mr Burns

The ‘reply’ required a lot of thought
It was to be new each time
It wasn’t something he churned out
Not one of his five hundred and fifty-nine

Yikes, I cried – this isn’t right
This is an awful affair
Have they any idea how long it took
Just To work out what to wear?

And glancing back at that webpage
T’was with horror that I saw
That grace and charm and wit were required
Don’t you know me but at all?

When times are dark, and things are hard
T’is hubby whom is my light
Help I yelled – I cannot cope
Ha! He said – now shut up and write.

But so I bravely battled on
Back to Google I turned
My ever present buddy in life
So much from him I have learned.

Reveal, he did, ‘Replies’ of lassies
From Burns nights of the past
Please picture the horror on my face
On reading: 15 minutes it should last.

Don’t panic tho, I quickly thought
That this I’d just dismiss
Fifteen minutes of me, I fear
Is no one’s idea of bliss

And furthermore it was revealed
‘Men’ I must show as fools
Whilst also referring to Rob himself
Tell me – who makes up these rules?

And what to say to show men up
To make them sound less wise?
A man can be a useful thing
No woman will deny…s

They work so hard from dawn to dusk
And still put dinner on the table
And sort the kids and clean the house
Oh… whoops – that’s us lassies that are so able.

But men are… they can help round the house.
When from the TV they’re dragged
And they… can be good company
They’re handy… if you need a good nag.

OK, ok, it’s said in jest
I think men quite alright
Despite conning me into doing this
Or laughing at my plight

And as for Burns that famous Scot
A real one, not just in part
T’was two hundred n fifty years ago he was born (tomorrow)
And a bit later, he did depart

The bit in the middle, it seems to consist
Of flirting and being a tart
But he sought out some time to write lots a stuff down
Which now is considered pure art.

Well, my poem is done; it turned out to be fun
My panic was clearly in vain
But just so I’m clear, if you have one next year,
Please don’t make me do it again

So thanks to you Rich, your speech was quite fab
You were so very frank
On behalf of all the lassies here
I’d like to extend our thanks

Piccies of the evening can be viewed here, if you’re interested!

111 Comments

  1. Elsie Smith

    Reply

    Hello,
    Just a line to thank you for putting your ‘Reply from the Lassies’ on-line. I was asked to do it for our Burns Night and was so relieved to find it! I changed it to make it relevant to us—

    Once again thanks—you saved me hours of effort

    Elsie Smith

  2. selena

    Reply

    thank GOD you posted this… it is the only useful reply from the lassies i could find anywhere. will happily plagerise parts if you don’t mind 🙂

  3. Anonymous

    Reply

    I love it and going to be using it tomorrw 22nd Jan 2011

    THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH

  4. mary

    Reply

    Ihave been asked to do a reply on behalf of the lassies and wondered if I could use some of you wonderful poem. it will relieve the panic!!

  5. Sue

    Reply

    Having turned to ‘Mr Google’ to help in my plight – I stumbled upon your brilliant poem…please can I copy some too?

  6. annie.porthouse

    Reply

    Hi Mary, Sue – Please do go ahead and use the poem. Thanks for asking.

  7. Viv

    Reply

    I too have just found your very excellent poem and also wanted to ask if I could use it to some extent for my ‘reply’ next week?

  8. Alison

    Reply

    I’ve just found your brilliant “reply”. Please can I use part of it – I’ve been dumped on to speak next Wednesday – how can anyone reply wittily to something theve not yet heard? If I could borrow some of yours it would save my bacon.

  9. Em

    Reply

    Thanks so much you’re reply posted here has just saved me from complete disaster on Saturday, hope you don’t mind if like others I borrow bits to use in my Reply. Thanks so much you’re a life saver : )

  10. Gill

    Reply

    Wonderful! I’ve been panicking about making the speech tomorrow evening. Would be so grateful to be able to use your poem as a basis for my reply to unknown address. Many thanks.

  11. Ali Taylor

    Reply

    I findmyself at short notice giving the reply from the lassie’s at a Burn’ night supper. Would you mind if I based a poem on yours – probably quite hevily on yours?

    You will get all the credit and I’ll take the flak.

    regards

    Ali Taylor

  12. Claire

    Reply

    I am so so so glad to find this poem! I would love to use it and hope you don’t mind!! Judging by all the comments you are helping a lot of people!

  13. Margaret

    Reply

    Thank goodness for your poem! I adapted it for our group and it went down very well tonight! A huge thank you as it took the stress out of the “reply” and I was able to enjoy the evening.

  14. Marls

    Reply

    Hello Annie

    yes I am in the same boat as everyone else–it’s nice to know there are others out there panicking just like me!

    May I also plagerise your poem please?

    Marls

  15. Anna Taylor

    Reply

    Thank you thank you thank you! I was starting to panic as I too had been asked to do the reply to the laddies – and had never even heard of such a thing, and now found your poem, and if its alright with you, would like to plagerise for our supper on Saturday! Huge thanks again! Anna

  16. Reply

    Hi Annie,

    thank you so much – I’ve just taken over a sandwich bar in central Glasgow and am off to a Burns weekend to do the Rto theL after only 2 days in my new job, so totally maxed out. Thank You so much !

    PS you should suggest a charity for donations when we take a copy of this

    luv n sisterhood
    slainte
    Annabel

  17. Susan

    Reply

    Hello Annie! Stumbled across this a year later whilst also looking through Google….a great starting point which I can ‘try’ to personalise! Thank you!!

  18. annie.porthouse

    Reply

    Yes — Anna, Annabel and Susan… feel free to use it. Have fun. Enjoy those beets, neeps and tatties – yum!

  19. Claire

    Reply

    Hi Annie

    Like many others I have stumbled across your poem while searching for ideas for a Reply from the Lassies and it has given me lots of ideas – thank you so much. I hope you are still OK for me to use some of it in my reply and hopefully I will also compose a few verses of my own. A Happy New Year to you and many thanks for your talen and inventiveness!

  20. Pauline

    Reply

    I am yet another ‘novice’ being asked to do a reply and , as with all before me, came across your poem. I am also hoping to plagerise If I may.

  21. Hannah

    Reply

    Annie, you are a life saver! Have been asked to do a reply and this is just perfect, really hope it’s ok to use. Will of course direct people to your website!

  22. Emma

    Reply

    Annie, I echo the thoughts of others here. Your poem is fab and I too would like to use bits of it for my reply to the Lassies this week – never been to a Burns Nights, so I was scrambling about in the dark until I found this!! Thank you so much 🙂

  23. irene

    Reply

    thank you so much for saving my life have been left with 24 hrs to sort a reply .will amend it to my needs

    thanks once again

  24. L-A

    Reply

    Phew I think you just saved me. . . Not read Burns since I was 10 and was googling like mad when I came across this – can I use it as. Framework – great poem : )

  25. Aileen convert

    Reply

    Me too please, may I borrow a bit? I’ve also been given a poem Kate o shanter if you’re interested!
    Thanks aileen

  26. Naomi

    Reply

    I was feeling like ‘a lamb to the slaughter’ with a glimpse at reprieve now that I’ve seen your poem. Please can I borrow a bit of it? I haven’t a clue where to start….. X

  27. Liz

    Reply

    Thank you for the inspiration you provided! I feel like I can do this now, with some help from your original poem!

  28. Tash

    Reply

    Hi,
    It’s now 2014, and this year’s burns night is fast approaching.
    I like all the others before me, was contemplating a January filled with dread and panic – until I found your poem!
    I would love to use it as a framework for my own speech if ok with you?

    Thanks so much for posting…

  29. Dannie

    Reply

    You are a life saver :). I’m writing the speech for Burns and this is incredible. Is it alright to tweak and use yours?

  30. Anne

    Reply

    Great poem! Would love to use it if I may? Like others before me just starting to panic as asked to reply on behalf of the Lasses only last week.

  31. Grace

    Reply

    Like several others, love your poem and would like to use parts. I can’t believe I consented to do this. Your poem is a godsend.

  32. Margaret

    Reply

    I’ve never been to a Burns Night so nothing about it until I was invited on Sunday – yes 20 January 2014!!! And then told I would be invited to give the response of the lassies. Panic – never mind “GO for It Girl” it was – “Google it girl.” Your post is the only one that provided any real inspiration as i have absolutely no idea what the other speaker will say that i have to reply to. I hope you don’t mind another lassie doing a bit of plegarism?

  33. Alison

    Reply

    Panic stations! I am doing the response from the lassies on Saturday and now in a blind panic…..could I use your fantastic poem?

  34. Mandy

    Reply

    Like all the other posts I too have been “asked” to do the response from the lasses later this week – love your poem and would love to plagiarise if you don’t mind? It is very good!

  35. Linda

    Reply

    I’ve been asked to do the response and was beginning to panic once I realised that there was no ‘set response’ and I had to make up a witty speech. Horrified doesn’t come near how I felt. Thank goodness I came across your poem as it mirrors exactly how I was feeling. If you don’t mind I’d like to adapt it for our Burns night tomorrow evening.

    Many thanks.
    x

  36. Reply

    Many many thanks for allowing me to use your poem. I altered it to fit the people and tone of the evening and it went down a storm last night.
    You saved hours of work and I’ll be forever grateful.
    Many thanks xx

  37. Anna

    Reply

    It is now that time again in 2015. I have just agreed to do the dreaded reply and like many others, while frantically googling, loved your poem, and wondered if I could adapt it? The last time I did this was in school in the late sixties! Never been to a proper supper since and feel now just as I did then!! Panic stricken!

  38. Billie

    Reply

    Like many before me Mr Google has come to my rescue. Your reply was pure genius! I have been asked to Reply on Behalf of the Lassies at a Burns Supper and wondered if I could use parts of your poem?

  39. Nicholla

    Reply

    After years of managing to avoid doing ‘the reply’ I was drunkenly convinced at the Christmas do! I hope you don’t mind me tweaking yours to suit our night! It is fantastic and will hopefully save me a lot of stress!
    Many Thanks x

  40. Ros

    Reply

    Came home from work tonight to be told ‘you’re not going to like this but Angus wants you to do the reply on behalf of the lassies’ eeekkk! Then I found you’re poem! As with all the others I am eternally grateful for your generosity in letting us all steal it to with as we will! Thank you so much

  41. admin

    Reply

    Yes Anna, Billie, Nicholla and Ros… I am more than happy for you to use (and/or adapt) my poem!

    You can use it for free, obviously, but perhaps next time you have an opportunity to give to a humanitarian charity (World Vision, Christian Aid, etc) stick a quid or two in the jar (or whatever).

    Cheers.
    Annie

  42. Kathie

    Reply

    Just discovered that I’ve been asked to do the Lassies Reply this year. I’m so very, very, pleased to have discovered your poem otherwise I would have declined as I only know the host and hostess of the Burns’ Night dinner we’re going to ….. scary.
    Thank you, Kathy

  43. Naomi

    Reply

    Time to add to your annual crop of “Wow! I’m so glad I found this!” comments… this is a fantastic poem.

  44. Doreen

    Reply

    Please may I use and tweak your poem tonight? It is fab. I promised to
    do the “reply” at short notice. I will tweak to suit our group and will give you the credit.

  45. admin

    Reply

    Kathie, Naomi and Doreen…

    … I am more than happy for you to use (and/or adapt) my poem!

    You can use it for free, obviously, but perhaps next time you have an opportunity to give to a humanitarian charity (World Vision, Christian Aid, etc) stick a quid or two in the jar (or whatever).

    Cheers.
    Annie

  46. Fiona

    Reply

    I would be very grateful if u could use some of this amazing poem as part of a charity Burns Night fundraiser later this month. Thank you

  47. Fiona

    Reply

    Hi Annie
    We are raising funds to take 16 boys from the 25th Stirling BOys’ Brigade in Dunblane to Malawi next summer to refurbish classrooms. Sort I forgot to include this in my previous message. You can follow us on FB if you so wish. Again, I hope it will be OK to use parts of this excellent poem. Kind regards. Fiona

  48. annie.porthouse

    Reply

    Hi Fiona

    … I am more than happy for you to use (and/or adapt) my poem!

    You can use it for free, obviously, but perhaps next time you have an opportunity to give to a humanitarian charity (World Vision, Christian Aid, etc) stick a quid or two in the jar (or whatever).

    Cheers.
    Annie

  49. Denise

    Reply

    Hi Annie, your poem has clearly stood the test of time! I’m less than two weeks away from the lassies reply and was really starting to panic till I saw this. Please can I use some of it too, it is perfect for what I’m looking for and will make things much less scary?!

    Denise X

  50. Pat

    Reply

    Hi Annie, like Denise, I too am less than two weeks away from my lassies reply. I would appreciate being able to use some of your poem to help me with my toast.
    Thank you so much for allowing we ‘lassies’ to share your thoughts.

    Pat

  51. Jenny

    Reply

    Hi Annie,

    Like so many others I love your poem and have to dop a reply at an all male rotary club supper in Ayrshire. I hope you don’t mind if I pinch just some of your ideas – they are great.

  52. SMac

    Reply

    Annie you are a star and a saviour … although I am struggling for a rhyme for Pretoria;-)
    Will dedicate next donation to RAFA or RBL to your good name
    Many many thanks

  53. annie.porthouse

    Reply

    Denise, Pat, Jenny, SMac…

    … I am more than happy for you to use (and/or adapt) my poem!

    You can use it for free, obviously, but perhaps next time you have an opportunity to give to a humanitarian charity (World Vision, Christian Aid, etc) stick a quid or two in the jar (or whatever).

    Cheers.
    Annie

  54. Margie Downs

    Reply

    You cannot know how much I have searched for something suitable suitable to say as reply. This is perfect and I think I could deliver it. Is it ok to steal??

  55. Chris Dacey

    Reply

    My panic has abated somewhat since reading your splendid reply.
    It fits the bill so perfectly…..may I please adulterate it very slightly (as it was a woman who bestowed the task on me!) and use it tomorrow evening?
    I’ll follow the lead set by you in response to an earlier request, and give a donation to my local hospice out of sheer relief and genuine thanks .

  56. Denise

    Reply

    Thanks for you poem I will use some of it tonight in my reply for the Lassies. It saved my life. l
    I will make a charity donation to Children’s respite Cancer in Eastbourne. Thanking you again.

  57. Jen

    Reply

    How did I end up doing the reply from the lassies at what must be one of the most southern burns night celebrations – down in sub-Antarctic south Georgia!
    Your post is a life saver. I hope you don’t mind if I borrow a few lines to spice up my speech tonight.
    We are a bit short on humanitarian charities down here but we have good links with a mission for seafarers welfare so following the leads above I will make a donation to them if thats okay.

  58. annie.porthouse

    Reply

    Margie, Chris, Denise and Jen…

    … I am more than happy for you to use (and/or adapt) my poem!

    You can use it for free, obviously, but perhaps next time you have an opportunity to give to a humanitarian charity (World Vision, Christian Aid, etc) stick a quid or two in the jar (or whatever).

    Cheers.
    Annie

  59. Lisa

    Reply

    Here I am, years after you wrote this.. Turning to Google at the 11th hour and finding your wonderful poem. As everyone before me has asked, I must ask as well. May I use at least a few of the lines. This is the best one, I have seen. At least I was told, it only had to be 3-4 minutes long… One of my favorite charities here in the states is St. Jude’s Research Hospital for Children. I will gladly give an extra donation.

    • annie.porthouse

      Reply

      I am more than happy for you to use (and/or adapt) my poem!
      And a donation to the hospital sounds great – thanks!
      Cheers
      Annie

  60. Julie

    Reply

    your poem is still in demand this year! May I use it net week please! and in keeping with what seems to be becoming a tradition for you, I’ll pop a donation into a local charity for the privilege of using it! Thanks, lovely, succinct uncomplicated poem, just fits the purpose!

  61. Margaret

    Reply

    I too add my name to the list of ‘lassies’ you have helped out! If you are happy for me to use your reply, I will be only to pleased to make a suitable donation.

  62. Tara

    Reply

    I too want to say a huge thank you and let you know our local hospice will benefit from a donation to thanks you x

  63. Liz

    Reply

    I would be so grateful if I could use your poem for this evening1
    been looking for weeks for something but yours fits the bill perfectly. With pleasure I will donate to my local hospice charity.

  64. Jean Hart

    Reply

    ThankYou so much for posting your poem. My piping partner just dropped me in the deep end by volunteering me for the reply in my absence. I have never given a speech in my life and really am not witty or humorous, Please may I use your poem adapted slightly? Just hopeful that someone else has not had the same idea in previous years!

  65. Esther

    Reply

    Oh my gosh!! Thank you so much for this!! I will be attending my first ever Burns Night, and somehow got roped in to do the Reply…before even knowing what it was!!!!
    I will be making it more personal, but will use parts of yours (many parts…) if that is OK with you!
    I know this post is 7 years old, but I hope you still read the comments!!
    Thank you!!!

    • annie.porthouse

      Reply

      I am more than happy for you to use (and/or adapt) my poem!

      You can use it for free, obviously, but perhaps next time you have an opportunity to give to a humanitarian charity (World Vision, Christian Aid, etc) stick a quid or two in the jar (or whatever).

      Cheers.
      Annie

  66. Christine

    Reply

    I too have been asked to or should I say persuaded to reply on behalf of the lassies at our Burns night. I hate public speaking but would love to use your poem with some small alterations as it’s such a gem. I do hope this would be ok with you Annie, I would also make a donation to our local hospice. Thank you.

  67. Caroline

    Reply

    Thank you for posting your poem. I would love to use parts of it for my ‘Reply from the Lassies’. I hope this is ok with you and I’ll make a donation to a local charity. Thank you.

  68. Margaret MacPhail

    Reply

    Like everybody before, I think your poem is so perfect! I have been asked to deliver a reply and my immediate reaction was “No, but I will find someone to do it”, until I came across your poem. It’s me to a T! Would you mind if I use it with minor alterations and would willingly donate to a charity of your choice.

  69. elaine

    Reply

    Thank you for posting your poem! It must a taken a great deal of thought and angst! Same as so many others, I’d love to use your poem and will happily donate to a charity. Many thanks in advance.

  70. Karen Masson

    Reply

    Thanks for posting your poem Annie – it absolutely hits the spot for a great Burns Reply. I need to get a speech together for this weekend and would be very appreciative if I could use your poem and adapt it a bit to fit the circumstances. I will make a donation to a charity in recognition. Thanks.

  71. Anne

    Reply

    Dear Annie
    I have found your poem and would love to ‘borrow’ it and customize an extra few verses to suit our lads. I see posts still coming every year requesting your support and I don’t know what your original charity was but I would be more than happy to make a donation if you are willing to Marys Meals as I love the charity and the Govt are match funding currently so they will get double!
    Great speech by the way please can I rob it I will credit you and not pass it off as mine
    Many thanks
    Anne

  72. Anne Cross

    Reply

    Dear Annie,
    I didn’t hear back in time and its tonight but here is the charity I sent to and we have fed four children for a whole year – thank you.
    Dear Mrs Cross,
    Thank you for your donation. Your kindness is helping Mary’s Meals reach more than 1.3 million children with a daily school meal.
    During Double The Love, your gift will go even further. Until 1 March 2019, public donations are being matched by the UK government, up to £2 million.
    Donations matched by the UK government will go towards helping vulnerable children across Zambia with a daily meal in school, with extra funds being used to help Mary’s Meals reach more hungry children around the world.
    Thank you for making this wonderful work possible.
    Daniel Adams
    Executive Director, Mary’s Meals UK

    I added a few verses of my own including adding this last verse:

    I have just one more verse of thanks to add
    To a lady called Annie, my salvation
    Twas many of her verses that I stole
    In return for a charity donation!

    Thanks again – its great that this poem lives on. I also spotted that your original charity was World Vision and I already give a monthly subscription to them as well as to Mary’s Meals so that is serendipity.
    Best wishes
    Anne

  73. linda

    Reply

    Thank you for sharing! I was asked to do it this past year and had to decline because I didn’t have time to prepare. I’m already doing my research for 2020 ! You poem is wonderful! I will definitely use some if you don’t mind.

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