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It's interesting to see where your mind takes you when it is lulled back into familiar routine. Today at my job I had the old song, 'Auld Lang Syne' stuck in my head. At least, I had the melody and some of the words. I decided to look it up, to learn a little about this 'Auld' song to see what it's origins were. I was surprised to find that it dated back at least to the 1600's in Scotland. A gentleman named Robert Burns found some of these old verses and translated them into the song we recognize today. Of course Burns' version has been Americanized, almost brutally some would say. I prefer Burn's version especially when provided with the definitions of certain questionable words and phrases.

The main idea that I gathered from this song, and why it is so popular on New Year's is the sentiment that we should honor and recognize old friends and the experiences that we have shared together. We should be thankful for those times from long ago and honor them in the moment, and all year long and for a lifetime! How easily we forget the connections we have created with each other, how thin become the ties that once bound us together in friendship. There are many friends who are taken from us cruelly, there are some friends we have let pass us by and out of our lives. I have friends like this. Friends who have drifted, who have allowed a misunderstanding or unkind moment to fester into the distance of years. Time spent apart with a complete communication breakdown. Because of this particular misunderstanding to which I am referring, I do not like to speak of politics and I tread carefully around topics of religion. We all have our differences and it is in our best interest to honor the opinions of our friends and not judge them or call them rednecks in a social networking forum for not supporting certain presidential candidates. I still can't believe that I lost a longtime friend over political differences and pride. For this friend I wrote a poem that is in my new book, I Wandered from New Orleans called 'Water Cools the Earth.' She has never read it and I no longer believe that she ever will. Still, it serves as a reminder to me to speak to someone when I would rather turn away. To resolve a small difference before it becomes a massive, destructive sinkhole of despair. This is why we are here on this earth, isn't it? To build our relationships, to inevitably make mistakes and learn from them to strengthen our ties with each other and ourselves. To swallow our pride and know that an apology isn't coming, take the high road. Most of us always speak of New Year's Resolutions; quitting some bad habit, or starting a new, productive project. This year, I am including in my own resolutions, to work on communication, to continue to listen and communicate real feelings and to ignore the ass holes that crop up like unwanted weeds in a beautiful garden. Ok, that was harsh... Was it? Hell, I don't know what to do about those ass holes. I'll cross that Piranha pit when I come to it.

In the meantime, I would like to leave everyone with Happy Wishes for the New Year! May you enjoy it and spend it with your loved ones and good friends. With this wish, I leave you with the 'auld' and new versions of the Scottish song, 'Auld Lang Syne' Sing it with fervor, with friends and a good ale! Cheers and Happy New Year!

Auld Lang Syne - Robert Burns translation in 1788 from ancient Scottish verses.

Burns Original

Auld Lang Syne

And for auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne,
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days o' 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 pu'd the gowans fine;
But we've wander'd mony a weary foot
Sin auld lang syne.
We twa hae paidl'd i' the burn,
Frae mornin' 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 willy waught,
For auld lang syne.

Meaning of unusual words:
Auld lang syne = Former days and friends
jo = dear
stoup = tankard
gowans = daisies
braid = broad
Gude willie waught = friendly draught

Standard English Translation

Old Long Past

And for old long past, my joy (sweetheart),
For old long past,
We will take a cup of kindness yet,
For old long past,

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And days of old long past.

And surely you will pay for your pint-vessel!
And surely I will pay for mine!
And we will take a cup of kindness yet,
For old long past.

We two have run about the hillsides
And pulled the wild daisies fine;
But we have wandered many a weary foot
Since old long past.

We two have paddled in the stream,
From morning sun till noon;
But seas between us broad have roared
Since old long past.

And there is a hand, my trusty friend!
And give me a hand of yours!
And we will take a right good-will drink,
For old long past.

Visit Tracy's website for more information on I Wandered from New Orleans: Poems from the South.

Auld Lang Syne from \"It\'s a Wonderful Life\"

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