But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an ‘men
Gang aft agley,
An’lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

Still thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me
The present only toucheth thee:
But, Och! I backward cast my e’e.
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I guess and fear!

Those are the last two verses of Burns’ poem To a Mouse, addressed to a poor mouse who has just had its home destroyed by a plough.

Although the dialect is unfamiliar to non-Scottish readers I think the message comes across loud and clear. The best-laid schemes of mice and men often end in tears. The poor wee beastie’s home might be destroyed and yet maybe the mouse is more fortunate than us. The mouse is wholly concerned with the present and will no doubt busy itself with building its little house again.

We, on the other hand, look back at the past, at economic and political turmoil, doubt and uncertainty, pain and angst, and we shudder. On Burns Night 2012 we are told that the British Economy has contracted over the last quarter and a “double dip” recession is now underway. “An’ forward, tho’ I canna see, / I guess and fear!”.

Who’s got it right – the mouse or us?

Happy Burns Night everyone!

Horsham Hypnotherapy: serving clients from Horsham, Crawley, Burgess Hill, Haywards Heath, Guildford, Redhill and all parts of West Sussex, East Sussex and Surrey. Contact us today.

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