For auld lang syne and time to come

I’m posting out the year, I apologise for not posting over the silly season, but, you know, family and stuff.

It’s been an interesting year, and it wasn’t the world’s last, it would turn out. Hands up if you’re surprised that the world didn’t end because an ancient calendar maker ran out of rock, or stopped for a swig of tequila.

Since we are so close to that new year (perhaps Australians have already had their’s). I’m interested in ye olde new years jingle, auld lang syne, which goes:

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

Burns (the Scottish poet responsible for our annual display of nostalgia) was asking a very important question. I’ve always thought this was something of a statement to put the past in the past, but there seemed something amiss to me, so I checked out the rest of the poem (which, in the language of Burns, is beautiful).

The thing that disturbed me was the use of the word acquaintance, which is something you’d probably like to keep into the new year – I mean, would you like to start every year trying to re-acquaint yourself with people, or trying to find new acquaintances? Of course not. Burns’ poem speaks of old time with nostalgia and love, and it’s those old acquaintances that should not be forgotten or pushed forth from our minds.

So what about leaving the past in the past? Well, I’ve always had an issue with this, mainly because you normally hear it from people who want you to stop bringing up certain ill deeds or whatever, so that they can continue doing them. Of course, you can only point out faults retrospectively, and that is what we are here for, to look retrospectively at what has come before us, and learn from it. History should be a compulsory subject for all.

It is the past (good or bad) that has modelled the world we live in. It is our own personal histories that mould us. The past is inescapable, and should certainly not be forgotten, the good or the bad, since it is the good that shows us that life is worth living, and the bad that shows us where we (as individuals and a society) need to improve.

So in the spirit of the season, perhaps we should all make just one resolution that we don’t forget the past and push it from our minds, but use it to mould us into the people we want to be.

Most of you will probably only read this after you have woken up from a new years hangover or something, but for those of you who still have an auld lang syne in you after reading it, ponder on that should. And think about the rest of Burns’ poem, the bit which we just forget about, or never knew because others forgot about it. Here it is, just for you:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup of kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp,
And surely I’ll be mine,
And we’ll tak a cup o kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou’d the gowans fine,
But we’ve wander’d monie a weary fit,
Sin auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn
Frae morning sun till dine,
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand my trusty fiere,
And gie’s a hand o thine,
And we’ll tak a right guid-willie waught,
For auld lang syne

you can find a translation at Wikipedia.

Anyway, have a happy new year, have fun, and live every day as if it’s your last, we shouldn’t need prophecies to tell us that our world could end tomorrow.


3 thoughts on “For auld lang syne and time to come”

  1. I agree with what you are saying, that everything in our past has made us what we are today, even though the bad stuff isnt nice to remember, and I prefer not to, I am trying to think how any of the bad stuff has affected me positively. As you say, in what not to do or do differently. It can never go away but i do think at a certain point you have to put it behind you so than you can move on to new things and forgive yourself. It will always be there but we dont have to remember it all the times so that it affects us still?

    1. I have to agree with Kate on this one – its never nice to have ones past hashed back at them every time they slip up. If they are trying to improve themselves, and admit to not being perfect, i don’t think hashing up every single sin ever done serves any useful purpose.

  2. Good to think about and know what we actually mindlessly sing every year! Thanks
    Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

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