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Featured Poem: Jackie Kay’s ‘Darling’

Written by Chris Routledge, 22nd September 2008

Jackie Kay will be appearing alongside Matt Simpson at the Sefton Celebrates Writing Literary Festival on Saturday 27 September at the Southport Arts Centre Sudio. Jackie Kay is an award-winning poet who has published several collections of poems. Her latest book is Darling: New and Selected Poems (2007) and this is the title poem.




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 –


Heel Y’ 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 say 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.


By Jackie Kay


The Sefton Celebrates Writing Literary Festival runs from the 22nd to the 28th of September. For updates about festivals in Liverpool and Northwest, subscribe to our email bulletin. Last week jen Tomkins compiled a roundup of literary festivals in the Northwest this autumn.

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