Poem introduction

I’m really fascinated all the time when I write by opposites and doubles and alter-egos and dopplegangers and I think we do live in a world which is drawn to always seeing things in terms of opposites, so that was what was the inspiration behind this poem.

Double Trouble

We were rich and poor.
We were bought and sold.

We were black and white.
We were young and old.

We were life and death.
We were north and south.

We were hand in hand. 
We were foot and mouth.

We were good and bad.
We were war and peace.

We were day and night.
We were man and beast.

We were hunger and greed.
We were water and land.

We were empty and full.
We were lost and found.

We had two strings to our bow.
We were in it together.

We were the spitting image.
We were the doppelganger.

We were terrible twins.
We were happy and sad.

We were alter ego.
We were sane and mad.

We were two-faced.
We were two-a-penny.

We spat, ‘Double or quits.’
We sneered, ‘Double the money.’

We liked to two-time.
We staying in a twin-town.

We led a double life.
We lived in a two-up-two-down.

We were too much.
We were entwined.

We were a right pair.
We were in two minds.

We peered through bifocals.
We talked in double entendres.

We walked double-quick.
We never wandered.

We were a double act.
We were Morecambe and Wise. 

We were Laurel and Hardy.
We were Jekyll and Hyde.

We were Romeo and Juliet.
We were tragedy and comedy.

We spoke tête-à-tête.
We were a carbon copy.

We dreamt in a double bed.
We were fluently bilingual.

We were in two minds.
We were never single.

We drove on dual carriageways.
We insisted on equal pay.

We were twinned; we were mated.
We loved and we hated.

We could not be separated.
We could not be separated.

from Red, Cherry Red (Bloomsbury, 2007), © Jackie Kay 2007, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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Jackie Kay – Children's Poems Download

1Double Trouble




3English Cousin Comes to Scotland




5Grandpa's Soup


6Love Sick




8Mrs Dungeon Brae


9My face is a Map


10My Grandmother's Pink River


11No 115 Dreams




13Red Running Shoes




15The Angler's Song


16The Moon at Knowle Hill


17The Nine Lives of the Cat Mandu


18The World of Trees




2021st Birthday Poem for Matthew


21At Home, Abroad


22Attention Seeking


23Black Ann


24Brendon Gallacher


25Burying My African Father




Books by Jackie Kay - Children's Poems