Matthew Fitt - Judges Comments


First Prize     Sang fur a Waddin   

This poem won me ower heid and hert. In its ain words, the poem is 'perfit formed.' A hoose o five stanzas, it stauns oot for its regular-wrocht rhythm and its trig rhymes, juist spierin for the poem tae be read alood. Its makar spins fine threids - fower conceits biggit on earth, wund, fire and even cuddies - and, in the lest verse, gaithers them thegither in a knot that winna be lowsed. Fae a rich hairst this year o byordinar guid poetry, I waled this poem as bearer o this year's gree for three reasons: in poetic form, it doesnae pit a fit wrang; by the pouerfu lest line 'the auldest sang o aw' I wis bubblin; and because the haill poem left me scunnered that I hadnae scrieved it masel.


Highly Commended     Poem fir a Son  

This poem's licht touch hiddles a maistry o story and leid. It caw us cannily fae licht tae daurk and back tae the lift again. A son's life has endit and his faither or mither or baith recoont the bluid and injustice and retour o his story. Ilka new readin o this poem draws oot mair weys o seein it. Ye'll see for yersel but I jaloused mibbe a tulyie for the environment against the hoodie craws o state or corporations. It shaws a sowel's fecht for richt ower micht and in his daith - 'they didnae see the seed in yer haun' -, he remaks the warld aroon him. This is a wee poem on a muckle scale and it had me sneckit fae the stert. 


Highly Commended     Hogmanay        

Here is The Joy o Scots unpluggit, unfankled and unbreeked. This makar kens rhymin couplets and hoo tae huckle them intae a stottin narrative poem. We're in Ayrshire, we're back at Kirk Alloway but Tam's noo a civilian oot on a walk on Auld Year's Nicht. The threat tae oor hero's person is a slaverin dug and aforementioned slaverin dug's owner. Burns' original poem is nane o the waur o this retellin and, tae this judge's mind, Robert Burns is a scriever we cannae reimagine or celebrate eneuch. 'Hogmanay' is a gallus contribution tae poetry in Scots wi ticht verses that skelp alang at the richt pace and, maist significantly, the makar o this braw poem doesnae forget tae bring the funny. 




Scots Prize Winner

Jim Waite


Sang fur a Waddin


Whan bubblin burnies clash an jyne,

tae mak a breengin river,

ye canna sinder thaim agane;

they're blendit up thegither.


Gowd lugs o barley, perfit formed,

wull daunce thir lane till cairtit:

but yince the gustie whusky’s masked,

they canna weel be pairted.


Twa cuddies, yokit, pu as yin,

the cairt aye heezin onwart.

In yin direction aye they gang,

ken nae wey else nor forrit.


The stuffie welder blaws his lowe

an melds the airns thegither.

A bond is furmed that wilna brak;

they're linkit up foriver.


Sae faimilies mingle, bluid tae bluid,

an bane wi bane growes tall,

that oor twa young fowk lang micht sing

the auldest sang of aw.




Scots Prize Highly Commended

Aileen Ballantyne


Poem fir a son


The leaves o’ yer tree are shinin reid,

green leaves tipped wi bluid in the sun.


They buried ye face doun in the nicht,

bade ye niver speak o’ the licht,


stapp’t yer throat wi cley an wi glaur,

made yer grave a cowp fir their spoor


til naebody wuid a’ kent ye wir ma son.

But they didnae see the seed in yer haun,


didnae see it root in the lime,

didnae see yer wurds rise an climb.


The leaves o’ yer tree ur shinin reid,

reid leaves singin oot tae the sun.




Scots Prize Highly Commended

Bill Boyd




As I walked out on Hogmanay, towards the kirk at Alloway,

I heard a fracas in the dell, ahint the wa’ in old Rozelle.

A rustlin’ sound amang the trees, came driftin’ o’er in the breeze,

And turnin’ round with dreadfu’ fright, wow I saw an unco sight.

A Boxer dug, big, grim and broad, stood in the middle o’ the road,

And through the eerie silence bode an eldritch voice, crying ‘Oh my God!’

The dug it stood like ane transfixed, afore decidin’ what came next,

When sudden fae its dwam was jolted, off up the road the creature bolted.

Some ancient prehistoric de’ils, put life and mettle in its heels.

Above the wa’ there next appeared, the owner who looked maist afeared,

A harassed jade, peroxide blond, fae whom the cur it did abscond.

Her plea was simple, curt and comely, ‘Haw pal, gonnae grab him, will ye?’

Now gentle dames, I must confess, wi’ love o’dugs I am not bless’d,

And lacking bold John Barleycorn, the danger I could hardly scorn.

I let the dug pursue its path, incurred the irate wifey’s wrath.

She hotch’d and blew wi’ micht and main, and uttered language quite profane.

The mutt meanwhile had turned around, and for me quickly made up ground,

But quickly steppin’ tae the side, I let it pass ere I maun ride

It bounded, fearsome, fast and true, t’wards auld Ayr Toon it quickly flew,

Where honest men or bonnie lasses, would have a fit gin that thing passes.

But ere the toon gate it could make, I heard the screech and squeal o’ brake,

A white van man had pulled up quick, and pulled off a heroic trick.

He claught the mongrel by the rump, and trimmed the sails o’ yon big lump.

Then liftin’ up the pantin’ tyke, he passed him up and o’er the dyke.

The owner she was blythe and tearfu’, gave the canine quite an earfu’.

But turnin’ tae our hero bold, wha’d handed back her crock o’ gold,

In praise o’ him was maist effusive, tae land a capture sae elusive.

She promised him that she’d repay, wi’ secret favours one fine day.

Her language it was maist demure, as fragrant as a mountain flow’r.

Now, wha this tale o’ truth shall read, ilk man, and mother’s son, take heed.

If ever you’re harangued by burds, remember noble Hamlet’s words,

The sickly cast o’ deeper thocht, oft brings our good intents tae nocht.

Whene’er confronted by a choice, and listenin’ tae yer inner voice,

To jump right in or walk awa’? Conscience makes cowards o’ us a’.