Saturday, June 6, 2009

Clan Cunningham Poetry Contest
During a telephone conversation between my father, Jim, and I while making our plans to ski together in kilts on Tartan Day, we found the topic to have somehow wound its way to the poetry of Robert Burns. Probably from my quoting of the immortal line “The best laid schemes o’ mice and men” from his poem To a Mouse. In any case, that then reminded us of a book of children’s poems my Grandmother once had published. So, then I queried whether Jim had any interest in poetry himself. Or more to the point, whether he had any interest or talent in writing poems. I tried to entice him to give it a try by offering to publish it, if it had a Scottish or Cunningham theme. He called back later that evening and read to me, not one, but two poems he had composed that day. And true to my word, follows the works of James Augsbury:
Ode to a Vole
In days gone by
when mowing fields,
my eyes enjoyed
what nature yields.

A scavenging rodent
runs in fear,
its life to save
for one more year.

This desperate run
by simple reason,
to survive another
mowing season.

Vole to the man:
“My life you’d end?
I’ll offer this,
just be my friend.”

So to the vole
from this ole bard:
“Relax, enjoy
my unmown yard.”
Hold Your Breath
Tartan Day Kilted Ski Runs
Its Tartan Day
and time for fun,
to carve some
kilted ski runs.

The idea came
from the High Commish,
to make some turns
with Scottish swish.

Invites go out
for all to try.
It dawns on me…
and why not I!

Surprised, Lorc says,
“your kilt I have,
saltire boxers,
and lots of salve.”

The plans are made,
the flights are booked.
So now we’ll see,
whose goose gets cooked.

With hills and spills
and kilts a flyin’,
we’ll make it down
or die a tryin’.

But as for now
we’ll wait and see,
who’ll fair, and how,
my son and me!
Poems with a Celtic or Cunningham theme submitted by current CCSA members to by August 31, 2009 will have a chance to win a free membership for 2010. The winner will be chosen by a volunteer Acquisitions Editor at an academic book publishing firm, and will be announced – with the winning poem published – in the October 2009 issue of the international Clan Cunningham Communiqué quarterly newsletter. Theme and originality will be important criteria used by the judge. Join at


  1. The Making of a Clansman

    By Denise Stana, June 2009©

    There is a place that we all know
    The Cunning ham of long ago
    A gathering forms now there below
    Secrets to share so he will grow

    A hush and silence fills the air
    They gather round to prepare
    The ancients whisper in his ear
    All of time’s secrets to endear

    Here they come one and all
    To impart wisdom so he’ll grow tall
    All will heed this great call
    For much must be given to one so small

    The Clan’s great Icons know their duty
    The Unicorn’s wings now touch is face
    This gives him virtue, courage and beauty
    His mind will be strong, his heart filled with grace

    A visit from Friskine will touch his heart
    This boy will be brave and do no wrong
    His blue eyes will seek never to be apart
    From the Clan nor his home for long

    Coneys are little visitors gentle and pure
    Rise up to sweeten his words with a kiss
    Their gentleness is given for him to be sure
    That his kindness and thoughts will not be amiss

    He hears the words from Bobby Burns
    So loves song and his life will be a rhyme
    The ability to be quick and he instantly learns
    He will defeat aged thought and cheat father time

    His time is near, we must be quick
    One last visitor to see our son
    The Earl of Glencairn will do the trick
    He places a crown on our wee one

    We hold our breath, the time has come
    He waves goodbye to all he knows
    The dark, the light, the journeys done
    He awakes, he cries, he is home.

    Dedicated to Ian Guthrie Kolick, Age 1
    The eleventh generation of Thomas Cunningham, Ayrshire Scotland and all the sons of Clan Cunningham.

  2. My Dad’s mother was a Guthrie and his father was Maness – Clan Gunn

    My father has been deceased for many years and during his lifetime he wrote many poems and many lyrics for folk songs….he told me that he was related to the well-known folk singer, Woody Guthrie.

    Several years before he died he wrote this poem, it is entitled Scottish Mariner, at his funeral the minister noted that “It is given to very few men to write their own epitaph and with such expression.” This poem has been forever cast upon my Dad’s grave marker for all to see who visit the cemetery in which he rests.

    The Scottish Mariner

    On some driftwood
    in the soft balmy wind
    I will ride out on the tide
    when it flows back again there will be
    green grass at the end of the flow
    I will be at sea, for it won’t let me go.
    I will have my place in heaven
    Right up there in the sky
    Where I can see the deep blue
    And watch the gulls fly.

    --Lester Lee Maness

    August 5, 1916 – February 5, 1983

  3. Cunningham: The Clan

    For the poetry contest
    by Leston James, June 14, 2009

    The clan, a group,
    a band of brothers,
    family, fathers,
    sisters and mothers.

    We all join together
    with tartans held high,
    proud of our heritage
    and willing to die.

    Defending each other,
    woman and man,
    that’s what it means
    to be part of the clan.

    Handing down our traditions
    from each generation,
    staying true to our flag,
    and true to our nation.

    The stories we tell
    to our children at night,
    they’ll be our history,
    so be sure they’re right.

    While history is written
    and folks watch your life,
    recording your battles
    and all of your strife.

    Dear lads and lassies
    of two things be sure,
    keep guard o’er your honor
    and keep your name pure.

    Live proud and courageous,
    woman and man,
    for that’s what it takes
    to be part of the clan.

  4. Return to Cunning Ham
    By Denise Stana, June 2009

    The dark is near, are they all here?
    I seek and reach and hear the pipes
    In search for those that I've held dear
    I be to see the tartan stripes!

    At last, at once, there is the Clan
    The ones I have loved -- the ones I have missed
    Each and every child woman and man
    I encircle each one, each one I have kissed

    Daddy, Mommy, my brothers, dearest Tippy, too
    Excitedly telling how I have been missed
    So great to see them--the Clan anew
    So easy to be I know it exists!

    Dear Mae your loves are here and you will know them;
    they have walked with you each and every day
    They send their love and your music surrounds them
    Dear sister, don't will know the way.

    Darling Dorothy, the wee ones send their love
    Little cherubs that patiently wait
    Gently cooing in harmony as little doves
    Awaiting their mother's entrance thru the gate

    Sweet sister jean, all are here who have gone before and Les
    Find peace in your health and your days will be long
    We all pray everyday for your happiness
    Those years gone by should continue on in song

    Baby brother Jerry, our youngest and dear one
    Our prayer for you is to be strong
    We know your journey and we wish you joy
    As we know our wait for you will be long!

    Dearest children of mine so brave and so true
    you are my light, my loves and my forever
    For me you must play, laugh and never be blue
    I will be with you as you travel and will leave you never!

    So as I join theh others in the ancient ways of Cunningham
    I wear the colors of red, black and white hues
    I hear the pipes of olden days of Cunningham
    I feel the mist of ocean spray and love the water blues.

    Greive for me darlings...never
    though it may seem long, our parting will be short
    Reunited our days together will be forever
    You ask where?...the music of Scotland will be the retort!