'The dead are still here holding our hands': Jackie Kay's moving poem on BBC's Newsnight

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The Scottish makar, Jackie Kay, contributed a moving and memorable poem on BBC’s Newsnight on Wednesday night, during a programme that centred on the government’s announcement earlier in the day that deaths from Covid in the UK had reached 100,000.

Kay wrote ‘Darling’ several years ago about the loss of her friend, the writer Julia Darling. On Wednesday for Newsnight she recited it with her mother, who she is currently caring for, beside her. The poem’s final two lines may have provided comfort to those who have lost loved ones to Covid: "The dead don’t go till you do, loved ones. / The dead are still here holding our hands."

During discussion on the programme Kay spoke of having a national day of mourning, saying: “It’s been a brutal experience for people [who have been unable to mourn properly] … we are going to have to open up the conversation about death … you go on a different journey with grief … but … there is hope, and there is light.”

 

Here is Jackie Kay reciting ‘Darling’ last year

 

You can watch the BBC Newsnight programme here

 

PHOTOGRAPH: BBC

 

 

 

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