Away From You is a poignant and emotionally charged poem by Jackie Kay, a Scottish poet and novelist. In this piece, Kay explores the theme of separation and the sense of longing that comes with being away from someone you love. Through powerful imagery and evocative language, she captures the complexity of human emotions and the intense pain of missing someone. In this blog post, we will take a quick look at the vocabulary and the story of the poem.
Away From You
This isn`t a memory. It is something I am doing.
Something I always do when I am not with you.
I repeat everything; and it happens to me again.
You pull down the zip of my jacket. Kiss me.
Especially, in this place, in this weather.
(Full poem unable to be reproduced due to copyright restrictions)
Slabs – large, thick, flat pieces of stone, concrete, or timber, typically rectangular.
Trapped – caught; confined.
Panic – feel or cause someone to feel sudden overwhelming fear or anxiety.
Wail – cry, lamentation.
Organ – a large musical instrument with pipes of varying lengths and tones, played using a keyboard or buttons.
Longing – a strong desire or craving for something or someone.
Foreign – belonging to or originating from a country or language other than one’s own.
Aching – a feeling of persistent discomfort or pain.
STORY + SUMMARY
This isn’t a memory. It is an action I perform whenever you’re not here. I find myself repeating everything, and then it happens again: you pull down the zip of my jacket and kiss me, particularly in this location, with this weather. The rain shimmers on the large slabs outside the old mill house. I see the hill facing it, which looks like a trapped large animal, moving heavily through the heat. I decide to cross its back; you are now in a town I don’t recognise, getting into a red car. It must be raining in that place, and the water splashes you as somebody holds the door, waiting for you to step inside. The traffic is so intense, I can no longer follow you. I feel anxious. You get into a car accident and die. I am now attending your funeral, listening to the unending wail of the organ. While I wait, I catch a glimpse of my own death. I see myself in this other place unable to do anything else but wait. This is me longing for you, enduring. I hear your voice trapped in my head.
But then, I realise that I’m wrong – you are not dead, you’re in the house in that foreign town, looking at me through the window with a familiar expression on your face. I take my time climbing the stairs to the bed where we first made love, and you make love to me while the rain continues to fall on the aching back of the animal-like hill outside. Later, in your time, which is different from mine, it stops raining over the town, and heat and dust take over it again.
Thanks for reading! Find more of our English Literature and Language courses by clicking here!