No one makes soup like my Grandpa’s, with its diced carrots the perfect size and its diced potatoes the perfect size and its wee soft bits – what are their names? and its big bit of hough, which ryhmes with loch, floating like a rich island in the middle of the soup sea. I say, Grandpa, Grandpa your soup is the best soup in the whole world. And Grandpa says, Och, which rhymes with hough and loch, Och, Don’t be daft, because he’s shy about his soup, my Grandpa. He knows I will grow up and pine for it. I will fall ill and desperately need it. I will long for it my whole life after he is gone. Every soup will become sad and wrong after he is gone. He knows when I’m older I will avoid soup altogether. Oh Grandpa, Grandpa, why is your soup so glorious? I say tucking into my fourth bowl in a day. Barley! That’s the name of the wee soft bits. Barley.
Jackie Kay was born and brought up in Scotland. She has published five collections of poetry for adults (The Adoption Papers won the Forward Prize, a Saltire Award and a Scottish Arts Council Book Award) and several for children. She was awarded an MBE in 2006.Read more about this poet
About this poem
This poem was reproduced on a postcard for National Poetry Day 2004. Eight poetry postcards are published each year by the Scottish Poetry Library to celebrate National Poetry Day and are distributed throughout Scotland to schools, libraries and other venues. The theme for 2004 was the food. You can find out more about National Poetry Day in our National Poetry Day pages, where you'll also find resources to go with the poems.