Jings, crivvens – Maw feels flushed
A poem titled "Maw Broon Goes For Colonic Irrigation" takes pride of place in a new anthology celebrating the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns. In the iconic comic strip The Broons, Maw has spent decades serving up hearty helpings of clootie dumplings, broth and black bun for her huge clan.
But the new verse, penned by award-winning poet Jackie Kay, sees the usually staid housewife taking drastic action to cleanse her digestive system.
And in a move which has left the Broons' creators "black affronted", Kay reveals in colourful detail the relief Maw finds in her long-awaited bowel cleanse.
The poem, which is definitely not for the faint-hearted, starts with the introduction: "Maw Broon finds a new hobby/Says cheerio to the impacted jobby."
Growing more scatological with each passing syllable, it continues: "Michty! It's a liberation, this colonic irrigation! Aw o' a sudden yer auld body is a hale new nation, Rid o' the parasites, clean as a whistle, yer saying Ho-ho, gone yersell! (And ye lose a hale stane).
However, DC Thomson, which publishes The Broons comic strip, is not so amused. Last night a spokesman for the firm said: "I don't think colonic irrigation is something Maw Broon would ever contemplate."
The poem features among others by some of Scotland's leading writers including Liz Lochhead, Douglas Dunn, W N Herbert, Tom Leonard and Alasdair Gray.
The anthology, New Poems Chiefly In The Scottish Dialect, is a tribute to Burns and appropriates the title of the first collection of his poems to appear in print in 1786.
Other poems in the collection are a more traditional tribute to Burns such as W N Herbert's "Rabbie Rabbie, Burning Bright" which celebrates Burns' Night, and Kathleen Jamie's "To a Mavis".
Yesterday the editor of the anthology, Robert Crawford, professor of modern Scottish literature at St Andrews University, said the book showed that there remain important links between Burns' work and modern poets.
Crawford added: "It's terribly important to realise the connection between Burns and other Scottish poets. Burns is an exemplar of the artform of poetry. I wanted to show that poetry in Scotland is very much a living tradition."
Scotland on Sunday's books editor Stuart Kelly said: "I think New Poems, Chiefly In The Scottish Dialect is by far the finest celebration of Burns for the 2009 anniversary. It's really encouraging to see a book that showcases contemporary poetic talent in Scotland, and shows that the Scots language is every bit as subtle and pliant as in Burns' own time."