Makar’s Poem for Essential Workers


Scotland’s Makar Jackie Kay has written a poem to thank essential workers during the coronavirus outbreak.

The national poet hails chemists, volunteers, carers, delivery workers, and those in the food supply chain.

The Makar said she wrote Essential as a “huge, big, thank you” to those working on the front line.

Photo by Álvaro Serrano on Unsplash

A video of the Makar reading the poem has been broadcast on Scottish Government social media channels today.

Full text of the poem is below.


Up, doon, the length of our land –

Aberfeldy, Ardnamurchan –

There’s uplift, sharing; pass the baton!

A frontline 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 stars

And the bold birds sing

As we clink in our links in the Kindness line;

Holding absent hands for Auld Lang Syne.