Orcadian poet commemorates John Rae’s arrival at Westminster

After the dedication ceremony at Westminster Abbey, back at the Scottish office in Dover House,  Orcadian poet Harvey Johnston read a wonderful, Burnsian poem entitled Rae in the Abbey. He graciously agreed to let me publish part of it. The final four stanzas run as follows. I have no photo of Johnston, but the above image of Our Hero captures the spirit of the thing:

Cheust like the
Cree and Inuit

He’d grown tae

Ye work wi’
watter, wind and wave

Tae live aff sea
and land.


Wi’ snowshoes,
long strides and a gun

Up North wi’ dog and sledge

He learned the
fate o’ Franklin

Bae the cruel Arctic’s

And on he strode
tae find the strait

Weel named on maps
ye view

The final strait
Amundsen sailed

The North West Passage

Wan hunder noo,
and sixty years

Hiv passed by
since that day

High time indeed,
that in This Place

We mark the name
of Rae.

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