Jackie Kay by Claudia Alonso (2015)

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

‘Jemini Peaches’ – New poem by Chancellor Jackie Kay

During COVID-19, 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.

This week, Jackie shares her poem ‘Jemini Peaches’. This poem was written after Jackie read a moving testimony sent to her by Southall Black Sisters, about a woman who had suffered the devastating consequences of domestic violence for years.

‘Jemini Peaches’

 Somewhere you live, Jemini Peaches

As far as my eye can see,

Out by the sand dunes furthest reaches

At the side of a turquoise sea

And the wind still blows the barley.

You will forever be my Jemini Peaches,

If I will still be me,

A girl loved so hard she reaches

Another life entirely

And the wind still blows the barley.

You were only eight months, Jemini Peaches

Inside my young-old body,

When your father’s boots breached me

And I prayed for the soul of my baby

As the wind still blew the barley

Somewhere by that lost shore, Jemini Peaches

With the sun, high in the sky

You’ll be raising your arms as you reach for me

And I’ll be waving you goodbye

Like the wind waves over the barley

And all your friends, Jemini Peaches

Will be wherever you are,

And I’ll be there combing the beaches

Not locked up no more, not far,

And the wind will search the barley

I know for sure, my Jemini Peaches,

As I’m here with a lock of your  hair

You’re there, dressed in purple on Grenadian beaches,

And the wind combing your dark black hair,

blowing the barley there.

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

Don’t miss Jackie’s new weekly series of online literary and musical performances. ‘Makar to Makar’ will showcase a line-up of established talent and emerging voices from Scotland and around the world. Read more about ‘Makar to Makar’ here.

Follow Jackie on Twitter @JackieKayPoet to hear a new poem every Sunday.