He wrote the lyrics in 1788 but the tune we know now does not first appear with the song until after his death.He was inspired by fragments of traditional songs from earlier times.
Now countries all around the world sing this song, some with different lyrics, but with the same meaning as the original.
Read here the history of how this song became an international hit
Auld Lang Syne always makes me sad. Here is a poem I wrote:
On New Year's Eve I Cry
Auld Lang Syne provokes my tears.
Old friends, dear ones from
years gone by appear
at midnight in my mind.
Rowdy revelers, my peers begin
a bright new year.
They raise champagne and toast.
Unique moments good
and bad, will not come back
this way again. I grab
and hold on tight to golden
highlights darting by,
like foxfire in a mountain wood.
This party is a wake.
It must be mine.
---Glenda Council Beall