Poem #31: Late Love by Jackie Kay

Jackie Kay is a Scottish poet and novelist. She has published six collections of poetry.  One of her novels, Trumpet (1998), was awarded the Guardian Fiction Prize and was shortlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. This week’s poem, Late Love, explores the states of being in and out of love.  Enjoy!

Late Love

How they strut about, people in love,
How tall they grow, pleased with themselves,
Their hair, glossy, their skin shining.
They don’t remember who they have been.

How filmic they are just for this time.
How important they’ve become – secret, above
The order of things, the dreary mundane.
Every church bell ringing, a fresh sign.

How dull the lot that are not in love.
Their clothes shabby, their skin lustreless;
How clueless they are, hair a mess; how they trudge
Up and down the streets in the rain,

remembering one kiss in a dark alley,
A touch in a changing room, if lucky, a lovely wait
For the phone to ring, maybe, baby.
The past with its rush of velvet, its secret hush

Already miles away, dimming now, in the late day.

From Life Mask (Tarset: Bloodaxe Books, 2005).

I got the poem from the wonderful Scottish Best Poems website.

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9 comments

  1. Wonderful poem Kinna! Thanks for introducing me to yet another poet… I loved these lines the best – The past with its rush of velvet, its secret hush

    Already miles away, dimming now, in the late day.

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    • You know, I was wondering about Trumpet. Thanks for the endorsement. I will add it to my list. Her poems are so good. It was a bit of a struggle to choose one. I’m also quite partial to her poems on adoption, her father and Nigeria.

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