Jackie Kay

Jackie Kay Poems

How they strut about, people in love,
How tall they grow, pleased with themselves,
Their hair, glossy, their skin shining.
They don't remember who they have been.

I did not promise
to stay with you till death do us part, or
anything like that,

When I got home
I went out into the garden
Liking it when the frost bit

I always wanted to give birth
Do that incredible natural thing
That women do-I nearly broke down


If ye went tae the tapmost hill, Fiere
Whaur we used tae clamb as girls,
Ye'd see the snow the day, Fiere,
Settling on the hills.

The living room remembers Gran dancing to Count Basie.
The kitchen can still hear my aunts fighting on Christmas day.
The hall is worried about the loose banister.
The small room is troubled by the missing hamster.

My seventy-seven-year-old father
put his reading glasses on
to help my mother do the buttons
on the back of her dress.

Dark, the days when the ships came slowly in,
Carrying the baggage from the old past,
Old love letters, promises long since past.

You're a gem, you're a holy cairn
You're a clattering shaw
You're a Tongland Bridge

No one makes soup like my Grandpa's,
with its diced carrots the perfect size
and its diced potatoes the perfect size
and its wee soft bits -

How strange the way old lovers move into the present,
tense, and catch you off guard; you tell me
when you were here last you'd taken the steam train to a place
whose name you've forgotten, and found a tapas bar.

She is on the second floor of a tenement.
From her front room window you see the cemetery.

My mum is on a high bed next to sad chrysanthemums.
‘Don't bring flowers, they only wilt and die.'
I am scared my mum is going to die
on the bed next to the sad chrysanthemums.

Gap Year
(for Mateo)

I remember your Moses basket before you were born.
I'd stare at the fleecy white sheet for days, weeks,


She is that guid tae me so she is
an Am a burden tae her, I know Am ur.
Stuck here in this big blastit bed
year in, year oot, ony saint wuid complain.

The orchids my mother gave me when we first met
are still alive, twelve days later. Although

some of the buds remain closed as secrets.

‘The middle ground is the best place to be'
- Igbo saying

I will stand not in the past or in the future

Nothing can be hidden from Lochaline Stores,
Supposing the Grocer's has eyes and ears:
Not an addiction to scratch cards or whisky,
Not a partiality to a bottle of Chianti.

Let's blether about doors.
Revolving doors and sliding doors;

Half-opened, half-closed:
The door with your name on it,

I am only nineteen
My whole life is changing

Tonight I see her
Shuttered eyes in my dreams

Jackie Kay Biography

Jackie Kay MBE (born 9 November 1961) is a Scottish poet and novelist. Jackie Kay was born in Edinburgh in 1961 to a Scottish mother and a Nigerian father. She was adopted as a baby by a white Scottish couple, Helen and John Kay, and grew up in Bishopbriggs, a suburb of Glasgow, in a 1950s-built housing estate in a small Wimpey house, which her adoptive parents had bought new in 1957. They adopted Kay in 1961 having already adopted Jackie's brother, Maxwell, about two years earlier. Jackie and Maxwell also have siblings who were brought up by their biological parents. Her adoptive father worked for the Communist Party full-time and stood for Member of Parliament, and her adoptive mother was the Scottish secretary of Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. In August 2007, Jackie Kay was the subject of the fourth episode of the BBC Radio 4 series The House I Grew Up In, in which she talked about her childhood. Initially harbouring ambitions to be an actress, she decided to concentrate on writing after Alasdair Gray, a Scottish artist and writer, read her poetry and told her that writing was what she should be doing. She studied English at the University of Stirling and her first book of poetry, the partially autobiographical The Adoption Papers, was published in 1991 and won the Saltire Society Scottish First Book Award. Her other awards include the 1994 Somerset Maugham Award for Other Lovers, and the Guardian First Book Award Fiction Prize for Trumpet, based on the life of American jazz musician Billy Tipton, born Dorothy Tipton, who lived as a man for the last fifty years of his life.[citation needed] Kay writes extensively for stage (in 1988 her play Twice Over was the first by a Black writer to be produced by Gay Sweatshop Theatre Group), screen and for children. Her drama The Lamplighter is an exploration of the Atlantic slave trade. It was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in March 2007 and published in poem form in 2008. In 2010 she published Red Dust Road, an account of her search for her natural parents. Her biological parents met when her father was a student at Aberdeen University and her mother was a nurse. Jackie Kay was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) on 17 June 2006. She is currently Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University,[6] and Cultural Fellow at Glasgow Caledonian University. Kay lives in Manchester. She took part in the Bush Theatre's 2011 project Sixty-Six Books, with a piece based upon a book of the King James Bible. In October 2014, it was announced that she had been nominated as the Chancellor of the University of Salford.)

The Best Poem Of Jackie Kay

Late Love

How they strut about, people in love,
How tall they grow, pleased with themselves,
Their hair, glossy, their skin shining.
They don't remember who they have been.

How filmic they are just for this time.
How important they've become - secret, above
The order of things, the dreary mundane.
Every church bell ringing, a fresh sign.

How dull the lot that are not in love.
Their clothes shabby, their skin lustreless;
How clueless they are, hair a mess; how they trudge
Up and down the streets in the rain,

remembering one kiss in a dark alley,
A touch in a changing room, if lucky, a lovely wait
For the phone to ring, maybe, baby.
The past with its rush of velvet, its secret hush

Already miles away, dimming now, in the late day.

Jackie Kay Comments

Louise Wilby 11 September 2018

I have been asked to read Your Mother is Always With You by Jackie Kay at a dear friend's funeral. Where can I find this please?

7 5 Reply
Imogen Shirley 13 August 2020

Where can I find the poem about Jackie Kay and her friend travelling by train to London. Her friend is excited to be seeing real live Sassenachs!

0 0 Reply
Ron Parks 16 May 2020

Saw Jackie's poem on the trees on PBS..a beautiful poem and her wonderful presentation of it.My first time to enjoy her art. Thank you Jackie

2 0 Reply
Marion Barker 31 January 2020

Hello I am looking for lyric poems by Jackie Kay. I am not sure which ones are.

0 1 Reply
Your mum 15 July 2019

I am jeuse ééééééééééééééééééééééééééééééééééééé

3 0 Reply
you r my mum 24 March 2021

les gooooo

0 0
your dad 09 January 2019

stac reads it but Mr.Conelli founds it

1 2 Reply

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