It's a lovely Scots poem for children by James Robertson. I heard somewhere that it was written for a disabled friend who could not go riding but who would have loved to do so.
I sometimes write poems for children. Like James Robertson, I write in Scots. Unlike James Robertson, I write about rude, sometimes violent old ladies and animals with disgusting habits. James Robertson and his pal Matthew Fitt are to blame for this. They asked me to. They were clever. When they started the Itchycoo Scots language book series, they began with books that weren't about vomiting budgies and umbrella-wielding grannies. They established that Scots wasn't just another way of being coarse. When King o the Midden, the book of manky, mingin rhymes came out, if the rudeness served as a gateway drug to Scots, there were a variety of other non-rude ways to go thereafter.
I know the poems have a fan base, that Mrs Nae Offence gets recited by children at Burns Suppers. What I only recently found out, by way of a Twitter vanity search, is that some people loathe them. I came across a thread where they seemed to be being cited as an example of everything that was wrong with the SNP's education policy. Wee Radge Jack Horner attracted particular venom.
Wee Radge Jack Horner,
Sat in the corner,
Eatin a Mars Bar in batter,
It did Nae guid at aw,
Fur his cholesteraw,
Sae noo he takes naethin but watter.
Well, I thought it was funny at the time, and that getting children to subvert nursery rhymes would be a good way to get them writing poetry. Maybe cholesteraw is 'gibberish', though. I did enjoy the criticism. Some of it was unintentionally complimentary - I write like a primary 4. I am a 'cough' respected poet in Scoats/Weedgie. Someone wanted to start a petition to ban my stuff in schools. As Oscar Wilde said, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about, though you do wonder if Oscar had ever been hit in the nadgers by a high speed football.
[Fact check: when I wrote Wee Radge Jack Horner, I was pro-devolution, anti-independence and had never voted SNP]
I have internal dialogues about writing in Scots. When my mum went into care, I wrote a lot of blank verse about being eight years old. I could lay the charge at my own door that I didn't talk like that. It would be only partially true. And by calling my mother Maw in the poems, I could see her as she was then, not as the adrift, confused, almost wordless mum who now lives in a home.
In fifth year English, I read 1984. I am sure I was too immature to understand everything that the novel was saying, but I did get the point about Newspeak. If you restrict language, you restrict thinking. On the other hand, the more ways you have of expressing yourself, the more ways you have of thinking critically.
Interestingly, when I came across the pillorying of something I thought was harmless fun that might lead children to read better Scots writing, a report was published by Education Scotland.
It is not an academic study, but it's worth a look.
So, to those who hate Wee Radge Jack Horner, lighten up. That's lighten up, no lichten up. You're entitled to your opinion, but by politicising something that was never political, you're coming across as a bit up your own bahookie, Nae offence.