Pippa Little was born in East Africa, raised in St Andrews and now lives in Northumberland where she is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Newcastle University. Her second full collection, Twist (Arc, 2017), was shortlisted for the Saltire Trust's Best Poetry Book of the Year Award. She is a member of Scottish PEN, a Hawthornden Fellow and her work appears in many journals and anthologies such as Land of Three Rivers (Bloodaxe), The Caught Habits of Language (for WS Graham, Donut Press), and #MeToo (Fair Acre Press).
Sole passenger on an early morning tram
I’m half asleep when the driver brakes,
dashes past me, dives into a copse of trees,
gone for so long I almost get out to walk.
Then he’s back, his face alight.
I saw the wren! Explaining
how he feeds her when he can
and her restless, secretive waiting.
We talk of things we love until the station.
I tell him of the Budapest to Moscow train
brought to a halt in the middle of nowhere,
everyone leaning out expecting calamity
but not the engine driver, an old man
kneeling to gather armfuls of wild lilies,
wild orchids. He carried them back
as you would a newborn, top-heavy, gangly,
supporting the frail stems in his big, shovel hands.
These are small things, but I pass them on
because today is bloody, inexplicable
and this is my act, to write,
to feel the light against my back.
From Twist (Arc, 2017)