Robert Burns’ Sale! #books #sale #robertburns #readmeImScottish #burnsnight

I lived in Aberdeen from 1990-1993, and as part of the school curriculum, we had to learn about Scottish history, specifically, Robert Burns. We celebrated Burns’ Night by eating haggis with neeps & tatties (turnips and mashed potatoes), and recited poetry.

It stuck in my mind, because I had to learn and recite Ode to a Mouse, supposedly written after he turned over a mouse nest while he was ploughing a field. It left me with a love of poetry, and a few years ago, while scouring the shelves of a second-hand bookshop, I found a copy of The Complete Poetical Works of Robert Burns.

Ode to a Mouse

by Robert Burns

Wee, sleekit, cowran, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi’ bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee,
Wi’ murd’ring pattle!

I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion
Has broken Nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle,
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An’ fellow-mortal!

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen-icker in a thrave ‘S a sma’ request:
I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,
An’ never miss’t!

Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
It’s silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!
An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
O’ foggage green!
An’ bleak December’s winds ensuin,
Baith snell an’ keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ wast,
An’ weary Winter comin fast,
An’ cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro’ thy cell.

That wee-bit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble,
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou’s turn’d out, for a’ thy trouble,
But house or hald.
To thole the Winter’s sleety dribble,
An’ cranreuch cauld!

But Mousie, thou are no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men,
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

Still, thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my e’e,
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!

Now, I live in Somerset. We don’t celebrate Burns’ Night, but I still have that book, I still love that poem, and when given the choice, I still enjoy eating haggis. My love of the country hasn’t dwindled either, and I regularly go back to visit family and see the sights. Three of my romance books have been set in Scotland, and my debut C.V. Leigh book is set in the Cairngorms.

To celebrate Robert Burns’ Day, One Night in Edinburgh is available for just 99c / 99p on Amazon.



What is wrong with the world?

What is wrong with this world?


What is wrong with this world?

It’s a question I ask daily, whenever

I see the news flicker on the television

set, or on my laptop screen.

A headline screams CARNAGE! to

describe seven parked cars hit by a passing

driver, yet the man who killed 59 innocent

people is labelled as a nice guy who

enjoyed gardening.


What is wrong with this world?

We are a society that shames women for

covering up, but equally for showing

off a bit of flesh. We are a society,

where a  young girl is not allowed to

flash her collar bone, yet the boy’s

swim team stand there in their

budgie-smuggling pants, with no

dignity to speak of.


What is wrong with this world?

We are a society where a woman has to

prove that she was raped before she

is allowed to remove that blob of jelly

that is less than a flicker of light from

her own womb. Yet the boy who forced

himself upon her is regarded as a

hero because he scored so high in

his last test.


What is wrong with this world?

This world that dials its hate and decay,

its deceit and denial into the telephone

of life, and then yells “HEY GOD!

Why are you letting those 500 people hurt?”

All the while, ignoring the thousands that

died on the other side of the world

before they’d even had their morning

cup of Joe.


We are what is wrong with this world.

Every single person who ignored the pleas

of their fellow human being, left out in the

cold. Every single person who thought,

it’s not my problem. It’s nothing to do with me.

Every single person who has shouted about

their right to bear arms, and then cried about

the madman who killed children on their

way to school.


We are what is wrong with this world.

In a world where a woman is labelled

TERRORIST for covering her face, but

stoned to death if she dares to reveal

more than her eyes. A world where parked

cars is carnage, but a man who kills fifty-nine

people is an  accountant, who was just having a

really bad day.


All copyright of this poem belongs to Charlotte Howard. Please share, but please give me credit! 😉

Poetry, hated

As many of you know, I’m currently taking my BA (Hons) Arts & Humanities through the Open University. As part of the Creative Writing module, I had to write 40 lines of poetry. My previous tutor (I’ve now changed groups) absolutely hated what I wrote. It’s cliched, uninspired, unimaginative, and all tell, no show. Apparently. So here it is for everyone to hate:

Gin & Tonic


The sharp silver blade slices through the jaundiced flesh,

making no meal of cutting through the corpse.

Sour blood drips from the wound, the bitterness infects all that surrounds it,

as insipid flesh is peeled from the pitted skin.

Hung throughout life.

Drawn and quartered in death.

Laid on the icy slab.



Heavy hands throttle. Twisting, turning at the wretched neck,

braced for the inevitable spill of pretty thoughts.

Innards, cool and light, trickle down, splish-splashing as they hit the bottom,

of the clear well, meant as a means of containment.

Fused and joined.

Sweet scents meld together.

Laid on the icy slab.




Writing Poetry


Begin with a word, now choose another,

be the word’s mistress, don’t be its lover.

Bend it and twist it, do what you will,

out of your fingertips, let the words spill.

Find the words meaning and find it again,

snap it and crush it, and kill it and when,

you’ve found the right word that you want to use,

scratch it. Start again. Adore the abuse.


Find your beginning, a middle and end,

find some nouns and verbs and let them all blend.

Mix them all into a witch-worthy brew,

just leave them to be, and let the words stew.

Abandon your ink blots, start a new page,

unleash your dragons, your love, and your rage.

Once you are finished, you’re done and you’re through,

kill all of your darlings, then start anew.


Let the ink flow, until your pen’s run dry,

there’s nowhere to go, no tears left to cry.

Have you revealed yourself, hidden away,

seen the bleak night turn into a bleak day?

Family forgot you even existed.

Are all those scrounged words, humbled and twisted?

And have you chewed off less than was bitten?

The answer’s yes. It’s poetry written.

Don’t take me at my best

This poem is written for everyone who thinks they have to spend hours each morning, creating the perfect image.

Don’t Take Me At My Best

Don’t take me at my best,

When my hair is not a mess,

Don’t knock upon my door,

When there are no clothes on the floor,

Don’t take me out for fun,

When I have my makeup done.

Ask if I am free,

Before I’ve had a cup of tea,

Call at an early hour,

Before I’ve had a shower,

Come and ring the bell,

When I look like hell.

Because you need to see,

What it’s like to be me,

You need to understand,

Before I take your hand,

Only take me at my best,

And you don’t deserve the rest.

Copyright 2015 Charlotte Howard. All Rights Reserved.