Scottish makar Jackie Kay honours key workers in new poem 'Essential'

The poem is a tribute to key workers.

Scottish makar Jackie Kay has written a new poem as a tribute to key workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

‘Essential’ was written as a ‘huge big thank you’ to all those working on the front line, said Ms Kay, who was appointed Scotland’s national poet in 2016.

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She said in a video released by the Scottish government: "In these harrowing times it's been really heartening to see how much people have actually come together, how much kindness there's been out there and how dependent we are on all essential workers, not just people in the NHS and carers who have done an amazing amazing job but also the childcare workers, the postmen and women, the delivery workers, people in the food supply chain, people stacking the supermarket shelves.

Scottish makar Jackie Kay. Picture: PA
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"We've become as a society and as the world even more aware and more appreciative of every single thing that people do and the effort they're making to keep us fed and to keep us safe.

"I wrote this poem as a huge big thank-you to everybody out there, even the people who are staying at home to keep us safe, the people on the home front, and the people on the front line."

The poem ‘Essential’ is below:

Up, doon, the length of our land -Aberfeldy, Ardnamurchan -There's uplift, sharing; pass the baton!A front line forming, hand to fierce hand.Shopfront workers, doon the aisle;New-era queues metres apart.The chemist's prescription warms the heart.Delivery folk vanish, ghost a smile.Volunteers at the local food bank ...Shy half-moon in a clear Scots sky.We leave with tins, groceries, goodbyes ...Clap in the gloaming when we say our thanks.And the sky greets with starsAnd the bold birds singAs we clink in our links in the Kindness line;Holding absent hands for Auld Lang Syne.