Shivereens, meaning fragments, by Pippa Little, has won joint first prize in this year's James McCash Scots Poetry Competition, run jointly by The Herald and Glasgow University.

Its quiet wisdom and natural use of Scots impressed the judges. Pippa Little was born in East Africa, brought up in St Andrews, and inherited her love of the Scots language from her Glaswegian father. She won the Norman MacCaig Centenary Prize two years ago. Her collection, Overwintering, was published last month by Carcanet.


Sma' coal a-smoulder

in the hearth, soft selkie-gray,

to kiss the sting of bone-cauld hands away

for aye the morning's white as milk

evening's haar will drain the day,

parliaments and banks all gan aglay

for want of sharing fairly:

so look sma' to keep hope brave –

it's black tea, tobacco in a battered tin,

a button's buttonhole against the wind

that keeps love safe:

sma' things make sense of us this way,

the spoon between your teeth, the first hot gulp;

something that will stay

the whole long trauchle through,

that one sweet snap, quick over, of our lives;

things for which we grieve,

things we give away.