Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Oh would some power,

I think all of us know at least part of the Robert Burns poem:

O would some power the small gift give us
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us and foolishes wishes.
What airs in dress and grace would leave us, and even devotion.

One of the suggestions for him writing the poem is that he stood behind a lady of some standing in church and noticed a louse crawling round her hat.

Of course, as I said yesterday, I had an hour of reading Ronald Blythe while waiting for an appointment to mend my hearing aid and I thought how appropriate this little poem was to what I was reading.

He says - at what point does carefulness with money become stinginess?   Do we use sticky labels on used envelopes because we really can't afford new envelopes - or has it become a bit of a fetish?   As he says - he knew someone who had an aunt who said, 'never marry a man who unties the string on parcels.'

When you think about it, we never ever actually see ourselves do we?   All we ever get is a mirror image - or maybe a photograph (when usually we are posing to some extent).   And do we ever actually sit down and analyse our characters or do we go blithely through life being 'ourselves'?   And does it really matter?   I am not sure that we have the ability to change these things anyway - to a large extent they are fashioned during our upbringing.

Oh golly - it is a good job I don't sit every day in a hospital waiting room for an hour - too much introspection like this would drive me mad.

Oh, and incidentally, yes I did get my hearing aid mended and I am hearing you loud and clear!


Elizabeth said...

Pondering stuff does tend to dredge up such thoughts.
We would all love everyone to think we are perfectly wonderful.
And we are not....
Perhaps better not to know what people are saying behind our backs--on the other hand how happy most people would be at their funerals - hearing all those lovely reminiscences!

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Our local M&S store used to have mirrored pillars. Every so often I used to catch a glimpse of some slightly familiar ruffian coming towards me. Thankfully the mirrors have gone now and I can shop without being molested by my reflected self.

MorningAJ said...

Well that's what happens when you get your hearing aid fixed - your thoughts become too loud!

I don't think you need to worry about how others see you. You're a star!

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...


We would definitely agree with the proposition that too much introspection is a dangerous thing. Better to just do, better to just decide, better just to act, for if one thinks about anything long enough, it just becomes too absurd for words.

We have decided that, when one reaches a certain age, and we are not quite sure what what age is, one does not have to do anything one does not want to do. Others can make of it what they will. The freedom to be true to oneself comes as one of few privileges with advancing years, we feel.

So pleased that your hearing aid was sorted. These things do hang over one.....

Gwil W said...

Sometimes as John said it's like being molested when you suddenly see your real self in a mirror. This white haired tired looking man coming towards me looks a bit suspicious . . .

Twiglet said...

Your blog is addictive! I just popped in to see what you were up to and ended up reading about 6 posts!! Thanks.

Heather said...

Glad you got your hearing aids sorted out. Attitudes and habits are definitely formed according to the time we are born into. Many older people are thrifty because everything had to be made to last as long as possible when they were young and 'old habits die hard'. I caught sight of myself while I was out recently not realising there was a mirror behind the counter facing me, and wondered who was the old lady looking at me!

Twiggy said...

My Mum always says your personality is born in you, I think you are shaped by your upbringing and place in the family too. I am currently doing a course related to my job, one of the modules asked me to examine my personality traits and what sort of person I am. My results were ahem, interesting but not unsurprising, the word procrastination featured a lot ;)

Joanne Noragon said...

I wonder what Robert Burns would say about old ladies in red with purple hats.

Hildred said...

Well, if we had the power it might do away with all our inhibitions....and make us a little more humble!

Penny said...

Oh dear, to me I am that joyous young mother, not what I sometimes see now. Glad you won't be back waiting in that hospital room for a while.

Frances said...

Once again, my visit here has been rewarded with some fresh thoughts from others about topics I've thought about myself a time or two. Perhaps it's been a time or two too many.

2015 is still a young year, and can still inspire some fresh approaches to the days yet to dawn.


Cro Magnon said...

It's probably far better than we don't know what others think of us.... at least I think it certainly is in my case.

Becca McCallum said...

Always best not to analyse your own actions too much - just live and let live...and hopefully there won't be be too many bruised egos along the way. (oh, and I definitely untie string on might come in useful!)

And because I'm an Ayrshire lass, I'm going to have to reproduce the final verse of To a Louse here in the original Scots:

"O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
An' foolish notion:
What airs in dress an' gait wad lea'e us,
An' ev'n devotion!"

Bovey Belle said...

As an empath, I have regularly found I know exactly how someone has reacted to me, which is not always a comfortable thing, but then - I am me, so tough luck if someone doesn't accept me, warts and all. I do have a few redeeming features.

Glad to read your hearing aid is fixed now.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for the original Becca!
Twiggy made me laugh - maybe we should all try that exercise.
In general I think the voice of reason travels through all the replies. So thanks for joining in.