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How it went from Bard to verse

Binge poetry was the order of the evening at the launch of Lesley Duncan’s new collection Images Not Icons Poems for our Times. The newspaper poetry editor was on fine form in front of an appreciative audience in the Boardroom of the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh regaling them with anecdotes from a compendium of experience in the Scottish press.
And she brought a round of laughter with the story of one mission she was sent on: a voyage of Scottish literary enthusiasts invited to Russia for a conference in the days before the Berlin Wall came down.
There were glimmers of Glasnost, though, as the invited party departed Leith Roads by rather ancient steamer bound for what was then still the Soviet Union.
The Russian hosts were very anxious that the occasion should go with Burnsian gusto and help cement the improving East-West relations. Picture their horror then, when the boat transporting the ambassadors of the word ran out of Vodka before it had even cleared the Firth of Forth.
Even for the absurd alcoholic consumption usual to the Russians, this was a totally unexpected level of toping and led to worries about whether the convivial atmosphere might sour before the boat arrived at its destination.
They needn’t have worried. Having drunk the boat dry, the rest of the voyage was a decidedly sleepy one.
The spirit of Rabbie lives on.