Flow gently, sweet Afton!

The title of this entry comes from a poem by Robert Burns, which I have always much loved. The poets beseeches the stream – the Afton – to flow gently lest his sleeping beloved be awakened. It is so calm and unhurried.

Tonight I went to eat with an old and dear friend. We don’t have to impress each other. We know each other’s beauty spots and warts. We enjoy the same things but can argue with causing offence. Kampai Rachel.

We go to a restaurant that enhances the feeling of wellness. In typical Okinawan style there is excellence without pretension and friendliness without thought for future gain.

Of course we eat superbly.

Fish deep fried such that the crunchy head is as much a delicacy as the flesh

Aya, the owner,  just comes over and chats. She has little English, we little Japanese. Doesn’t matter.

Flow gently, sweet Afton! amang thy green braes,

Aya with more fish

Ruins of Goya Champuru with more fish to come.


Go here. Get there straight on Route 58

Flow gently, sweet Afton! amang thy green braes,
Flow gently, I’ll sing thee a song in thy praise;
My Mary’s asleep by thy murmuring stream,
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream.

Thou stockdove whose echo resounds thro’ the glen,
Ye wild whistling blackbirds in yon thorny den,
Thou green-crested lapwing thy screaming forbear,
I charge you, disturb not my slumbering Fair.

How lofty, sweet Afton, thy neighbouring hills,
Far mark’d with the courses of clear, winding rills;
There daily I wander as noon rises high,
My flocks and my Mary’s sweet cot in my eye.

How pleasant thy banks and green valleys below,
Where, wild in the woodlands, the primroses blow;
There oft, as mild Ev’ning weeps over the lea,
The sweet-scented birk shades my Mary and me.

Thy crystal stream, Afton, how lovely it glides,
And winds by the cot where my Mary resides;
How wanton thy waters her snowy feet lave,
As, gathering sweet flowerets, she stems thy clear wave.

Flow gently, sweet Afton, amang thy green braes,
Flow gently, sweet river, the theme of my lays;
My Mary’s asleep by thy murmuring stream,
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream.

There were excellent Irish cigarettes, which I used to smoke in my youth, called Sweet Aftons. I wonder if they still exist?

Tender young charms

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3 Responses to Flow gently, sweet Afton!

  1. Alan says:

    The fags still exist although their makers are now a small part of BAT. Here’s what the front of the packet now looks like: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fd/Sweetafton.jpg

    Apparently Gilmartin’s Cash and Carry stock them but I doubt they have a branch near you http://www.gilmartins.ie/html/cigarette.asp

    That fish has me salivating.

  2. Alas, they have been discontinued, about two months before my mothers passing two years ago, ironic, as she could not smoke just as they were withdrawn from the market!!! I wrote a verse on it, linked to below…

  3. Hi Tomas
    Would love to read your poem.
    No link?

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