Jackie Kay by Claudia Alonso (2015)

Claudia Alonso, Jackie Kay, 2015. Digital Photograph. Image courtesy of the artist.

Clap the Carers – New poem by Chancellor Jackie Kay

Professor Jackie Kay CBE, University Chancellor and Scots Makar, is sharing a series of poems with colleagues, students and members of the public, reflecting on the current period of uncertainty that we are in.

Jackie’s second poem ‘Clap the Carers’ is about saying thanks and showing our appreciation for those who are working tirelessly on the frontline during this pandemic to care for others. 


I want to say thank you to Janet
for keeping up my mum’s spirit

And thank you to Margaret Anne
Who always does the best she can

Who sorts out the medicine
Trolley meticulously and

Thank you, Marie,
Who last Sunday on Mother’s Day

Had a lone piper into play
And all the women and the men

Were wheeled out or walked into the garden
For ten minutes of fresh air while the Piper played

And When this Battle is Over
And thank you to Cherry for

Making my mum part of her family
And looking after her like she would her own mother

And thank you to Richard, who back that day, aeons away,
On March the 10th put the Home into lockdown

The first in the country –
Which at the time was outrageous to me

But now completely right retrospectively,
Ahead of the curve, and on the ball

And thank you to Clare, team manager of all
For her kind and calm demeanour

And to Monique with her shock of blonde hair
Who always makes my mum laugh

With a merry quip or a teasing joke
And thank you to kind-faced Reuben

Who cleans my mum’s room and puts a wee nip in her coffee
And to good-natured big John who checks regularly to see she’s OK,

And to everybody
Every single Carer in a Nursing Home, Care Home, or in someone’s home

Up and down the breadth of the country
Across the land and out to sea

To France and Spain and Italy
For treating all our mums and dads

Our daughters and sons, our brothers and sisters,
So kindly; for knocking your pan in

Gieing it laldy, going above and beyond.
I want to say merci beaucoup, gracias, grazie

You’re one in a million.
On the Sunday after Mother’s Day, I want to say

Tapadh leibh, thank ye, thank ye,
And in Sign, I do believe, it is like blowing a kiss, like this, like this.

Copyright Jackie Kay. Reprinted with kind permission of the author.