“Tae a Virus” – a Scottish poet gives C19 its comeuppance

This poem was written by a Scottish poet in the style of Robbie Burns’ famous ode To a Mouse.” I would really love to have heard it read by the poet …who seems to be anonymous. There is something special about the Scottish brogue…anyway this poem was picked up by a Scottish reporter who picked upon its popularity in Ayrshire and published it.

Breaking news is I have just found this link to an article on a Scottish Care home where it has been popular. So you CAN listen to it being read in the Scottish way.  Go here. 

Update 27th March. The mysterious author has appeared. See his comment at end of post and also read about him at the end of the poem.


Twa months ago, we didna ken,

yer name or ocht aboot ye.

But lots of things have changed since then,

I really must salute ye.


Yer spreading rate is quite intense,

yer feeding like a gannet.

Disruption caused, is so immense,

ye’ve shaken oor wee planet.


Corona used tae be a beer,

they garnished it wae limes

But noo it’s filled us awe wae fear

These days, are scary times.


Nae shakin hawns, or peckin lips,

it’s whit they awe advise

But scrub them weel, richt tae the tips,

that’s how we’ll awe survive.


Just stay inside the hoose ye bide

Nae sneakin oot for strolls

Just check the lavvy every hoor

And stock-take your loo rolls.


Our holidays have been pit aff

Noo that’s the Jet2 patter

Pit oan yer thermals, have a laugh

And paddle ‘doon the waater ‘


Canary isles, no for a while.

Nae need for suntan cream

And awe because o this wee bug

We ken tae be …19.


The boredom surely will set in,

But have a read, or doodle

Or plan yer menu for the month

Wi 95 pot noodles.


When these run oot, just look aboot

A change, it would be nice

We’ve beans and pasta by the ton

and twenty stane o rice.


So dinny think yell wipe us oot

Aye true, a few have died

Bubonic, bird flu, and Tb

They came, they left, they tried.


Ye might be gallus noo ma freen

As ye jump fae cup tae cup

But when we get oor vaccine made

Yer number will be up.

 This poem was originally passed onto me by a poet friend whose Mum sent it on from Glasgow. Thank you Helena and Helena’s Mum.

The latest update today March 27th is that the poet has made himself known. His name is Willie Sinclair and he is head gardener on a large estate in Ayrshire.   Here he is! And here is a wee something he wrote about himself, or should I say ‘aboot’

“I am pleased that my poem has provided much pleasure to many. This was totally unexpected, as I had only posted it on my Facebook page to provide my friends with a little light relief during this time of crisis. I am not a poet, as such, but have penned a few small rhymes over the years for birthdays, weddings etc. The worldwide response has been overwhelming, even making  the Robert Burns World Federation Facebook page !! Being born in Glasgow, and living in Ayrshire ( birthplace of Robert Burns ),  for the last 40 yrs, I believe that, the language that I use in the poem is a concoction of broad Ayrshire and Glasgow slang. Even though Ayrshire is only 30 miles south  of Glasgow the dialects differ greatly. In everyday talk, I imagine that I use Glasgow slang, however I will revert to proper English at the drop of a hat, depending on the company that I am addressing. Due to the positive feedback, I will probably continue to write poems. My English grammar and punctuation require improvement, and I plan to study this when I retire ( within 4 yrs ). I have also been invited to join a creative writing group, so the future looks exciting for me. I have never had, and hope that I never do have Corona virus.  I usually write a blog on Saturdays but had the idea to write a poem on the corona virus instead and the rest is history.”

Thank you Willie  for your wonderful humour and for sharing it with us. Be safe and well. Global poetry overrides ..19 !!!  May the laughter spread through lockdowns everywhere.

Karuna or Corona

Yesterday I heard of how a friend of a friend mistakenly referred to the corona virus as the karuna virus.  Strangely, karuna means compassion.  Compassion for others, compassion for the self.

Karuā (in both Sanskrit and Pali) is generally translated as compassion and self-compassion.[1] It is part of the spiritual path of both Buddhism and Jainism.  See wikipedia for more.

Corona comes from the sixteenth century…borrowed from Latin for crown. It also has some rather magical meanings, for example, a circle of light that can sometimes be seen around the moon at night, or around the sun during an eclipse (= a time when the moon is positioned exactly between the sun and the earth) read more in the Cambridge Dictionary

Today I choose Karuā.



Here is a link to an inspiring video of Italians in lockdown singing from their balconies.



May the Karuā virus spread. And may we all catch compassion for ourselves and others. I wish you and us all aroha, good health and calm, in the face of panic.  Aroha nui Helen

Old Scarry – from ‘People of the Water’ by Helen McKinlay

Back in the day my family

frequented Onekaka

not to photograph the bones

of the old wharf

or search for mussels

on the usually deserted beach.


But to see the rows of people

on their deck chairs

waiting for a guest appearance.


Why did she come?

Where did she go?

Trusting her dolphin body

to be touched by humans.


Swimming in the deep

with some. Floating

with the lesser swimmers

in shallow water.

Sharing kai with two young friends.

Pushing fresh caught tuna at them

again and again

till they knew it was a gift


evocative of “The Last Supper.”

Eaten with reverence

and always remembered.


There are many stories about dolphins in New Zealand befriending people. Old Scarry, spent a lot of time in Golden Bay and was much loved. My family and I shared her largesse. Named Old Scarry because of the scars on her side, she was extraordinarily tolerant.  I swam with her several times and once when I was with friends who had got to know her well and were swimming way out beyond my comfort zone…I was humbled by her coming  in to see me. Did she know I felt left out?

She really did present a very large freshly caught tuna to the  two youngsters (grownup now) in the poem.  And they in turn shared this gift with my family. To read more about her and other friendly dolphins of NZ go here.

This poem is from my collection People of the Water (Mohua Press 2020)

Yes, People of the Water is officially published!  

It is now in the process of distribution. You can ask for it at your  local bookshop, or obtain it online from the printers. The Copy Press Nelson. Price $20 NZ.