We are delighted today, after delays caused by Covid and other factors, to announce the winners of the 2022 James McCash Scots Poetry Competition, run jointly by The Herald and Glasgow University. 
In previous years we have usually given a theme – Change is Lichtsome; Thinking of Others; Travelling Hopefully – but this year we left the subject matter open. 
What an energetic mixter-maxter of material reached us from the 99 poets who responded. They did so in all sorts of variants of the Scottish language, from the classical and MacDiarmid’s Lallans to Doric and Burns’s Ayrshire cadences, and of course the smart patois of the city vernacular. 
It’s clear that the language remains vibrant and widely used in spite of all the push to conformity generated by the mass media, online and other. 
Although the judges – Professor Alan Riach of the Chair of Scottish Literature at Glasgow University, Lennie Pennie, poet and Herald columnist, and myself – were impressed by the liveliness and variety of the poems, we did not feel that one stood out from the others in merit, and therefore have decided to divide the prize money of £500 among five entrants, who will each receive £100. They are David Bleiman for Ma Makaronic Manifest; Raymond Burke for How to Speak Glaswegian; John Hodgart for The Passin o a Queen; Robert Hume for Simmer Storm, Winter Warm; and Sheila Templeton for Winter’s Hansel. 
Alan Riach, Professor of Scottish Literature at the University of Glasgow comments: 
“When each year the time comes to read through the McCash Scots language poems, it’s always a delight to see the variety, self-confidence and expertise at work, both linguistic and poetic: different voices, various forms, diverse geographies, and no limits on subjects or ways of approaching. 
“David Bleiman’s Ma Makaronik Manifest happily demolishes any sense of “pure” language, bringing in Scots, Gaelic, English, Urdu, French, Polish, Cantonese, all wrapped round in a superhero’s cape of dumpling-rich mixtures, a “clootie cloak”! 
“From that ‘manifesto’ to the lyric poignancy of Robert Hume’s Simmer Storm, Winter Warm, where an immediate crisis in civic water management is countered with the hard reassurance of the seasons, to Sheila Templeton’s evocation of quiet festivity centred in a bitter winter, as we take the “deep tummle intae the oonkent”, to John Hodgart’s ironic, irreverent yet compassionate salutation on the death of the Queen and Raymond Burke’s clever, tongue-twisting, eye-opening, throat-muscle exercising How to Speak Glaswegian (an exhilarating exercise in the grim delights of the west of Scotland): all these poems use the Scots language unpredictably, with sharp application and insight. 
“I’m grateful and glad to have met every one of them, and I should note that this year especially the longer short list included many fine poems by excellent poets. 
“There is much to celebrate here, and learn from.”
Here are the poems from the winners:


David Bleiman: Ma 
Makaronic Manifest

Gie me yer tongue-stramash
o vyces prood fae aa the airts,
an no some longsome shilpit scrift
in Standard English, wersh an wan – 

thon bevvy o the monoglot’s
a peely-wally scrimpit swally.

A skirl o Gaelic blawin throu the larach,
a wheen o lingos hoochin i the schemes,
fae Polish an Punjabi
tae Urdu, French or Cantonese –

Jock Tamson’s luve-bairns urnae monolingual
an ilka fremd’s a fiere tae saut oor screed.
Whan verse preeves waik an wainisht- wairsht,
Ah’ll thraw a wee bit Yiddish i the parritch
or mebbie wale ane Bißchen Español,
ma manifest is baith belief an cargae leet –
Ah bide amang the mixter-maxter fowk,
oor slogan-cry’s “The clootie cloak!”

Raymond Burke: How to Speak Glaswegian
Cow is coo and now is noo but how’s no’ hoo and sometimes why
Not is no’ and no is naw, maybe’s mibby, yes is aye
Mum is maw and ball is baw and snow is snaw and crow is crae
On is oan and off is aff but off is often oaf anaw.

Wrong is wrang and hing’s fae hang. From is fae and far is faur
Half is hauf and whole is hale. To is tae and car is caur
Arm is erm and harm is herm. With is wae and what is whit
Farm is ferm and charm is cherm. Red is rid and foot is fit.

Hand is haun and band is baun, home is hame and house is hoose
Gemme’s fae game but them is thame, dog is dug and mouse is moose
Paying’s piy’in, flying’s flee’in. gaing’s gaun and doing’s dae’in.
Staying’s stiy’in, dying’s dee’in. you’re on your own, ye’re oan yer ain.

Ground is grun and blind is blun, a’ for all and wan for one
Found is fun but sound’s no’ sun like round is roon and isnae run
Drown is droon and down is doon, a crown’s a croon and brown is broon
A pound in weight is called a pun but no’ the poun ye spend up toon.

Hour and our result in oor but power disnae stretch tae poor
Head is heed and dead is deed, sour is soor and flower is floo’er
But floor is flerr and chair is cherr and stair is sterr so fair is ferr
And there is therr and sore is serr and rare is rerr and air is err
(Less is less but more is merr)

So when yer oot and roon aboot, as blow is blaw and bread is breid
Some get confused, I’ve got nae doot, but therr’s nae need to lose the heed
Please come and blether anytime, cos noo ye wulnae need a haun
And noo that ye’ve read this wee bit rhyme, it’s no’ sae hard tae unnerstaun’.

John Hodgart: The 
Passin o a Queen

But mibbie for her it wis a blessin 
She didnae see whit she’d become: 
Gey near a saunt I’m kinna guessin,
Wi obsequies tae lea ye dumb  
An neer-endin encomiums,  
Some fu o guff, some fu o unction, 
Some weel mixed wi opiums, 
As gabblin hauf-wits, lackin gumption,
Thocht it decreed, by God’s ain will,
The maist important thing eer seen. 
As if the planets shid staun still 
For the passin o a queen.

Yet ither things I daurnae mention,
In case ye think I’m on a rant,
Noo that we’ve witnesst her Ascension;
Her coffin, the Ark o the Covenant.
While Putin’s war aye grinds awa
In a land sair battert, bluidy an raw.

Robert Hume: Simmer storm, winter warm
A glister o hi-vizzie bizziebuddies
Scutter doon the brae
Meters in hauns, noseyin there
And pointin here, caain
Tae each ither. The watter
Willny gang whaur they want it.
The speirin is o soakaways, syvers, stanks.

Naebdy wis keekin when the simmer storm
Plumpit its plowtery rain dib-dab
Intae the channel o the lane:
New-tarrit, it swallt the fluther tae
A floud, runklin an thrawin itsel
By new knaps and linns, makin inches o asphalt.
As skelpin aa they back gerdins.

Noo, i the balmy gloamins o Februar
We gaup, asperans, at how green the gress,
A sign o how swiftly the year can tirn.

Sheila Templeton: Winter’s Hanse
There’s dairk. Winter is mizzered in dairkness.
Ivery daw a thochtie less licht, ivery sindoon
that bleeze o the lowe in the west slippin awa.

An there’s need tae mak the dairk yer ain
lat the saft dairk be yer bosie, haud it tae yer hert.

Of coorse ye need the bonnie lichts o mid-winter
– celebrate the Solstice onie wye ye like
the Christ child, Hanukkah, bone-fires, Diwali
an monie mair; lat yer hert lift aftentimes
wi the jeelit grace o snaw flooers unner the  mune
– we need the myndin that the licht wull cam back.

But the dairk is needed. We maun be
Lik seeds, lik trees in their winter sleep,
Hap wirsels in it, fitiver that brings

Mebbe doul, mebbe the hansel o hert-sairs
langsyne, but bosied noo in the kind dairk
the saftness o easedom gin ye daur
that deep tummle intae the oonkent.