Today is Burns Night, the annual celebration of Scotland's national poet. He wrote in his own dialect, and while many people (including, I suspect, some Scots) might struggle with it, every poet owes him a debt. Robert Burns broke the chains that bound poetry to classical forms and helped us all to escape the 'thees' and 'thous' and archaic language.
    Now, poets can write sonnets or haiku, odes or free verse. They can write about eating the plums someone had saved in the fridge ('This is Just to Say' by William Carlos Williams) or how your parents can mess up your life ('This Be the Verse' by Philip Larkin), and they can do it in heightened language or their own everyday slang. Where would rap be without the example of Robert Burns to show the impact that ordinary simple language can create?
    I'm no whisky drinker, but I shall be raising a glass to 'Rabbie' tonight.