Congratulations to our 2022 Prize Winners


Wigtown Prize Winner | Julie Laing, Calving

Wigtown Prize Runner Up | William Hershaw


Gaelic Prize Winner | Martin MacIntyre, Dithis Bhoireannach air Trèan

Gaelic Prize Runner Up | Rody Gorman


Scots Prize Winner | Irene Howat, The Lintie

Scots Prize Runner Up | Joan Fraser


Fresh Voice Award Winner | Andrew Murray

Fresh Voice Award Runner Up | Gwen Dupre


Alastair Reid Pamphlet Prize Winner | Sarah Leavesley, Rain Falling

Alastair Reid Pamphlet Prize Runner Up | Bridget Khursheed







Satellites see – for years – the       l e n g t  h e n   i   n    g            c          r           a         c                k

    but             can’t      describe               

the       crashing         b












After rifting from the mother, the trillion tonne 93 mile long

newborn baby-berg drifts and humpbacks

stitch its milk-blue fringe for tourists.

For 930 miles and four years it points 

its index finger at the sky

and space sentinels update us on its status.


A68 has split into

                      A68a            &           A68b 

                      (calf-mother)                          (berg-calf)


         and the finger broken from    A68d  

               (berg-calf)                                                  A68e                                     

                                                                                  is known now as         (berg-calf)


Even after the birth of 


(the last chip big enough for bergness)

the herd coheres as slushy-fissured diaspora,

for longer than expected.


Then – very suddenly overnight – 




                            just fragments


   into             millions


little         tiny

moos   and   d   i     


      a    p      

              p       e   s

                                  a             r 


Dithis Bhoireannach air Trèan

’S ann ga h-ithe far a’ chnàimh a tha sibh –

am boireannach òg blasta a tha 

na seasamh mur coinneamh,

is a bheir dhuibh a h-aodann

a gàire is a dlùth-èisteachd

is a labhras ribhse

a cheart cho saidhbhir, siùbhlach, sùghmhòr

mu bhrìgh na beatha (dè eile a th’ ann?)

is a thogas a com

is a chuireas a lamhan

an tacs’ a cruaichnean

dìreach mar a nì sibhse

is a dhraghas an fheadhainn agaibhse thuice

na gnogadh-cinn

na sgaoileadh bhilean

na tuigse air ur cor

a dh’ aindeoin nam bliadhnaichean eadaraibh

’s nach b’ aithne dhuibh idir a chèile gu seo,

’s gun dealaich sibh, math dh’ fhaodte gu bràth

an Girona no ’m Barcelona.

’S beag an t-iongnadh gum feum sibh

na gheibh sibh dhith ithe an-dràsta:

ise ‘menù ur latha, ma-tà

cha sàsaichear a-nist sibh

gum bi mìlsead na ‘postre – canaidh sinn Flan Catalán – 

agaibh air bàrr truimead is fallaineachd is spiosrachd a ‘plato

a cridhe mar rionnaig òig le a saoghal roimhpe

mar a th’ aig an nighinn agaibh fhèin,

is o nam b’ urrainn dhuibh dìreach tachairt rithese

gun fhiosta air trèan

is a h-ithe le gaol

mar a leigeas an tè shaor chàilear seo leibh gun strì.

1 cairt-bhìdh stèidhte (gu tric am meadhan an latha)
2 dessert
3 prìomh chùrsa
Two Women on a Train



You really are eating her off the bone –

the young tasty woman

standing opposite

who gives you her face

her laugh, her attentive listening

and who talks to you

just as richly, fluidly, juicy-ly

about the meaning of life (what else is there?)

and who raises her breasts

and places her hands on her hips

just like you do,

draws yours to her

in her nodding

her widening lips

her understanding of your being

despite the years between you

and that you’d never met before now

and you’ll part, forever, perhaps

in Girona or Barcelona.


Little wonder you must eat

what you can of her now

she is the ‘menù of your day,

you will not now be satisfied until you’ve savoured

the sweetness of the ‘postre’– lets say Flan Catalán 

on top of the richness and healthiness and spicy-ness of her ‘plato'


her heart as a young woman with her life ahead of her;

just as your own daughter does,

and oh, if only you could meet her, by chance on a train,

eat her with love, as this delicious woman freely allows you to do.


The Lintie

The chaptane’s cahute wis mahogany wuid

thit leamed in the eelie’s licht

bit the licht o’s bourie, the chaptane kent,

wis is wee green lintie.


They wur buckelt wi’ae hesp, man an burd

for the mair the swaws sweelt

the mair the burd fuffert is feathers an sang.

Wi a rowin sea an a whurplin burd

the chaptane wis codgie.

Yin nicht is the veshel wis nearhaun a stack

a scowe lik neffer afore 

skelpit er starn, nar cowpit er ower,

burlin er roon an thrawin er doon.

Oor efter oor the tarry breeks focht

wi the stack an the boat in a radgy birl.

Fur oor efter oor the wun did its warst

wi the wun an the sea in a skirl.


The chaptane hid hiself wupped tae the mast

e wid neffer gie ower is chairge.

Frae thair he spied muckle sclitherin heichs

an the lang sclim up thair sclenters,

than the veshel’s shidderin seekenin fa

doon intae the howes atween.

Frae thair he hearkened the skraich o the wun

an the screeve o smatterin timmers;

frae thair e spied the stack abin

an the wrack o is boat ablo.

Is hinnermaist sicht

     oan thit frichtsome nicht 

          wis a glent o green,

an is hinnermaist soon 

      is the sea sooked im doon

           wis a lintie.









That simmer’s day the king’s dragoons hung three men 

fae the gibbets fur no renouncin their hatred  o bishops,

an twae Mairgarets wur mairtyred tae the ocean – fixit ticht tae stakes tae droon as the tide rose abune the bay o Wigtown.


They were aw merkit oot as malaperts, troublemakers  whae listent tae meenisters preach frae beneath their blankets in amang the hills o Gallowa’, 


Loth even in the face o daith itsel tae stoap bein the foot sodgers o god:  freedom fechters railin against Episcopalianism


Mairgaret Maclauchlan an Mairgaret Wilson wir laid oot on the mudflats at Bladnoch, clingin oan tae their crates like crabs.


Yin o them sang hymns but the sat watter dried them in her mooth.  An offecial pullt her heid up, giein hur a last chance tae recant her creed but she speired insteed 

fur a gless o watter. 


There’s plenty o watter there fur ye, said he, an pushed her back unner. 


It’s said he’d a son, whae was born  wi webbed feet. 

Luckin fittit his hale life, he wuz, an aye thirsty forby.


     Right before the very beginning/end, a rain-
              drop falling like a skipped heartbeat, strained
        through the clouds’                   muslin. The sky’s lake
            was still clean,                                  wide & unswum,
        though I dreamed                                      of gliding across
          without leaving                                         a trace: no foot-
          print, no clinging                                       mist breath, no
            carbon stain.                                             A flow of atoms,
          shape-shifting                                             with the air &
        world around me. I                                        believed in wings
        of light, feathers of                                       snow, unmelted
          by climate crisis,                                       ice as saving
        angel, sculpted by                                 the landscape
            – its hungers,                                   thirsts, needs.
        Need’s thirsts – its hungers – landscape the angel
        sculpted by saving as ice, by climate. Crisis
        unmelted: snow                              of light, feat-
            hers of wings. In believed
        world around me,                               I & air, the
            with-shape                                      shifting atoms
          of flow. A carbon.                              Stain no breath
              mist-print,                                        no clinging foot –
        no trace. A without                                  leaving, across
      gliding of though…                                        I dreamed, un-
          swum & wide,                                              was still clean.
          Lake sky’s the                                                  muslin through
            the clouds’                                                       strained heart-
      beat, skipped, a like                                              falling. Drop rain

     a end beginning. Very                                         the before: right/write.            




                                                            After the earth
                                                          heard thunder,
                                                        leaves held out their
                                                      tongues, the hedgerow
                                                    bindweed’s white mouths
                                                  brimmed with bowlfuls
                                              of pure      recycled river. May
                                            blossom       turned these to fonts
                                          for the blessing of loosed
                                        petals,                  butterflies, bees
                                      & other                insects. Birds sang
                                    with warm                 wet freshness,
                                  beaks       open and uplifted,
                                feathers                              glistening. A shine
                              lingered                                 on every storm-
                            struck                                         surface, glossed
                          by sun & water, slick with equilibrium, scents
                        of rich peat, valley grass & purple-heathered
                      moorlands. Walking was a way of living we didn’t
                  weigh                                                         in heavy breaths
                or heavy                                                        hearts. Our lungs
                were still                                                          trees, our pulse
              & motion                                                              paced by steady
          ground                                                                      beneath, not
        the swish of                                                                 fins & tails, flit
    of water past us,                                                      slit of gills too narrow
to sustain our need                                                for oxygen or mass survival. 



In the early days, hills
became hallowed
spaces: high
peaks, white
with angel
snow. Like tips
of broken

wings set
& rooted into
rock – staked
as jagged
Water ruled
more gently
than now. 

Pools of once
blue or silver
streaked green
& stagnant:

We moved with
the weather,
to cool our skin
& dry our feet.

    Next-door planted                                                    tarmac, paving slabs     
        & cars, brick walls                                                        & conservatory

               glass. The light                                                             that swam
                  through slowly                                                          sank fast.
                  Cobwebs caught                                                         shadow

                  fish &     dead leaves.                                                  As for
                  our             drive: moss                                             -grouted
                  red                stone, oil-                                              stained.
                  Paler               where our                                             metal
                  beasts     lay, parked                                           long
                  enough         to leave a                                         mark,
                  but out                     too often to                                  make
                  a real                           difference.                               Nothing
                  grew                                from the                               under-

                  belly                                   of our                                thunder-
                  makers                                 except rust                     & wild
                  words                                      that burgeoned        or thorned
                  in loud                                       recrimination.           Fumes
                  fogged                                           everything.               We
                  dream                                               sometimes          of our
                  range                                                  of mountains   viewed
                  from                                                         a distance  of miles
                      &                                                               millennia – the
                  slopes                                                              like old hands
                  clasped                                                              in prayer. An
                angel-call                                                             set against
                skies that                                                                  no longer
          silhouette clear                                                                answers.


                Flooding is an arc with no meniscus, no rim, only over-
                  spill. We miraged other worlds that might rise above the
                      ocean waves, even as our birth Earth was sinking. Surf
frothed like spilt                                        milk, not
                            lace-pretty. Our                                           under-
                            water cities are                                               more
                            whale-carcass                                                    than
                            shell-domed. This
                            planet is a listing
                            ship: the West
                            African Black                                      Rhino-
                            ceros/Baiji White                          Dolphin/
                            Pyrenean Ibex/                            Passenger
                            Pigeon/ Tasmanian Tiger/Steller’s Sea                                
                            Cow/Great Auk/Dodo/Woolly Mammoth

                             /Sabre-toothed Cat… then the Columbia
                            Spotted Frog/                                Staghorn
                            Coral/American                                Pika/

                             Adélie Penguin/                                   Leathe-

                             rback Sea Turtle/

                             Seal/Polar Bear.*
                            Our tears taste
                            saltier now than

                            the sea that we’ve 

                 had to settle with or drown in.

* 10 animals already extinct, followed by 10 threatened by climate change ( 2020).


                                                          An amber star
                                                        edged with black
                                                      once rested in my
                                                    palm. The Spiny Orb-
                                                  Weaver Spider had legs
                                                as delicately jointed as a
                                              series          of embroidered
                                          silk                     stitches, & tiny
                                        goggled            eyes, shimmering.
                                      Viewed                from underneath,
                                    its body                    was like a silver-
                                  soldered                     electrode. Made to
                                weave                             threads from thin
                              air to                                   command a web’s
                            complex                                circuitry. Later, we’d
                          try to                                            emulate its mastery
                      of connection,                                  its acrobatics &
                    aerial-home spinning. This small creature was already
                  trapped & set in resin, then encased behind museum glass
                miles                                                            away from lush
              green                                                               leaves & vibrant
            flowers.                                                              Miles away from
          lost                                                                         tropics & rain-
        forests.                                                                     How we envied,
    emulated &                                                               endangered things we
didn’t understand.                                                  We kept our eyes goggled,
as if this would protect us                               from reality’s over-shimmering.



                    Larks are what I want
                    to wake to, a glimmer
                            of humming
                              birds, even
                            a robin, rosy
                              breasted &
                            A world set
                                in harm-
                              ony, with
                              the gentle
                              yolk of an
                                  I never
                              knew the
                              squeal or
                              the mythic
                          of a Stephens
                            Island wren.
                              When the                                                           turtle
                          dove stopped                                                     calling,
                              its absent                                                         song
                              slipped as                                                   lightly
                            as silk from                      flesh, softly as a feather
                    brushed against glass… Yet, now I rise, goose-like,
              to this startling quiet, their ghosts shiver through. My
          skin pimples, like the plucked birds that no longer exist.

                            Light that was still
                              naturally sourced
                              soon topped the
                                ratings for big-
                                  gest night-
                                  time scar-
                                  city. Poets
                                  killed the
                                  moon first;
                                  they didn’t
                                    mean to,
                                    but they
                                  did – swal-
                                    lowed it
                                  whole as if
                              knocking back
                                    a giant
                                sleeping pill.
                                The world’s
                                  grew deep-
                                  er. Conste-                                         llations
                                  flickered.                                              The
                                  steadiest                                               stars
                                  were bart-                                           ered for
                                love & laugh-                                       ter. Stock-
                                piled, the rest                                      became a
                              cosmic commodity that few could afford. With-
                          out a moon left for folks to whisper to, therapists
                      charged a fortune for listening & nodding. Prices rose.*

* Sympathetic sighs cost extra. The Zodiac index crashed live on Bloomberg. The coffin-nail diagnosis was instant, but fatal.


Life trickles
faster &
quieter than
water through
cracks in split
rock. Its
warm mouths
to drink.
Yet all I see
is the flash
of cold
prising apart
my ribs to
but a poly-
heart &
two gusting
plastic bags:
a lungless, breath-
less skeleton of waste.


 Neolithic man learned to                                            farm. Crops of wheat,
      millet & spelt. Figs too.                                          They kept dogs, sheep
            & goats, set up sea-                                                     sonal settle-
            ments. Circular mud-                                                       brick
            homes. The slow arts of                                              massaging
            earth into fertility, clay in-                                          to make-
              shift pots & spoons, using                                         what they
                had                   around them,                                  choosing
              how to          seed & encourage                                  growth.
                Stone            walls against floods,                              raids &
            straying                 animals. No pets,                                just
              walking                 food. Tribal living.                        Survival.
                Was                             early cultivation                     easier or
              harder                             than foraging &                   hunting?
            Neolithic:                       new stone. Anthrop-              ocene:
              defined                           by humans. My sons          ache with
            each day’s                               strain. I recall my       childhood
            attempts                                         at caring for a           small
              cluster                                         of lithops – living       stones.
              These                                       succulent plants thrive in arid
          soil, requiring                                      only sun & rare watering.
            All five                                              drowned within a month.
              Letters                                             have always been my only
          crop, words                                                 my building blocks.*

*How weakly they stand against this climate.

                                                   Gists remain. Sometimes,
                                        an essence. More often, part-stories with-
                                  out conclusions. Scavenged bones that even
                        crows can't bear                                          to feed off. 

                    We etch our life                                            tales into slices
                of pulped wood,                                                   cave rock,
              light pixels,                                                                 strings
            of zeroes & ones.
        The landscape
      shapes around us. 

     Generations later,
    no one can easily
    read this in a way
    that makes sense. 

   These days I try to
  carry my presence                         with less force & lighter footsteps. I write
    rarely, always sign                             off with a sorry. Gists tie an essence of
    stories, scavenged.                                                            Bone
      crows feed,                                                                       slices
      pulped. Rock                                                                   light
        strings zeroes.                                                          Land apes.
          Read away sense.                                                  Days carry
            less. Footsteps                                                  write, sign off.
              A sorry gist                                                         essences
                  scavenged bone.                                          Crows slice.
                      Light strings. Apes read. Days carry. Footsteps
                          sign. Sorry gist scavenged, bone crows slice
                                  light. Strings ape. Days footstep, sign
                                              sorry. Gist crows slice.