Jackie Kay by Claudia Alonso (2015)

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

NEW ERA – 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 third poem ‘New Era’ reflects on the difficulty of being away from our families and loved ones for an extended period of time. 


I am missing my boy, my handsome son,
like Carol Ann’s pining for Ella
like Maura’s longing to hug Imelda
like Suzanne’s desperate to see Marissa
like Dionne dreams of James and Luca
or Denise would love to put her arms round Finlay
who misses his mum who died the year before last;
or Adjoa’d be over the moon to see


Liam and Jessie who’re stranded in the past.
I am missing my boy, my wise, considerate Matt.
I’ve taken to wearing his baseball caps
round the house like a lost soul, like a woman
getting ready for going grey: today’s – a snazzy
black and red, NEW ERA, Atlanta, 59/50.
There’s a whole collection, lucky for me,
in his old room, like a museum,
even though he’s over thirty!
Now we FaceTime or houseparty


with a can of Guinness, a glass of wine,
doing our best, cheerzing the screen.
We’re lucky all of us who love so
over the distance of the land and the sea.
Love is a matter of belief, of hope, of trust.
A wave, another wave; holding your nerve –
who’ll press the red phone icon first?
Love is keeping our distance.
Love is a long-distance dance.


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

Jackie Kay, Manchester.
April 4th 2020