Jackie Kay by Claudia Alonso (2015)

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

‘Darling’ – Professor Jackie Kay CBE shares final poem in lockdown series

For the past few months, Professor Jackie Kay CBE, University Chancellor and Scots Makar, has been writing and recording a series of poems every Sunday and sharing them with colleagues, students and members of the public.

Each week we have brought to you Jackie’s latest poem and this week will be the last poem in this lockdown series. ‘Darling’ was written in memory of Jackie’s friend Julia Darling who passed away a number of years ago, and Jackie dedicates this poem to anyone who has lost someone close to them.


You might forget the exact sound of her voice

Or how her face looked when sleeping.

You might forget the sound of her quiet weeping

Curled into the shape of a half moon,

When smaller than her self, she seemed already to be leaving

Before she left, when the blossom was on the trees

And the sun was out, and all seemed good in the world.

I held her hand and sang a song from when I was a girl –

Heil Ya Ho Boys, Let her go Boys

And when I stopped singing she had slipped away,

Already a slip of a girl again, skipping off,

Her heart light, her face almost smiling.

And what I didn’t know, or couldn’t see then,

Was that she hadn’t really gone.

The dead don’t go till you do, loved ones.

The dead are still here holding our hands.

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

Although this is Jackie’s last Sunday poem, you can still catch ‘Makar to Makar’ every Thursday at 7.00pm. Read more about ‘Makar to Makar’ here.

You can also revisit all of the poems from the weekly series, which started in April, here on our website.

Keep up-to-date with Jackie on Twitter @JackieKayPoet.