‘It’s a huge freedom to be allowed to make things up in your head. I always loved that as a kid.’ Jackie Kay. Brendon Gallacher. By Jackie Kay. Read the poem. Stanza One. Lines – 1,2,5 ‘my Brendon Gallacher ’ is used like a refrain.
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‘It’s a huge freedom to be allowed to make things up in your head. I always loved that as a kid.’ Jackie Kay
By Jackie Kay
Lines – 1,2,5 ‘my Brendon Gallacher’ is used like a refrain
Child-like language – a 6 year old – who is gossiping with childish pride
He was seven and I was six, my Brendon Gallacher.
He was Irish and I was Scottish, my Brendon Gallacher.
His father was in prison; he was a cat burglar.
My father was a communist party full-time worker.
He had six brothers and I had one, my Brendon Gallacher.
Cat burglar = a burglar who performs nimble jobs
He would hold my hand and take me by the river
where we'd talk all about his family being poor.
He'd get his mum out of Glasgow when he got older.
A wee holiday some place nice. Some place far.
I'd tell my mum all about my Brendon Gallacher
Brendon Gallacher dreams of getting his mum out of Glasgow for a better life – the speaker wants to tell her mother about Brendon – what might this suggest?
We learn more about Brendon – there is almost a childish romance as he holds the poet’s hand
How his mum drank and his daddy was a cat burglar.
And she'd say, 'Why not have him round to dinner?'
No, no, I'd say, he's not big holes in his trousers.
I like meeting him by the burn in the open air.
Then one day after we'd been friends for two years,
The last line leads into the next stanza – ‘one day’ is repeated in the next stanza
The speaker’s mother invites Brendon round for dinner but the speaker makes excuses
One day when it was pouring and I was indoors,
My mum says to me, 'I was talking to Mrs Moir
who lives next door to your Brendon Gallacher.
Didn't you say his address was 24 Novar?
She says there are no Gallachers at 24 Novar.
The speaker’s mother has been asking around and has discovered that Brendon does not live where the speaker has told them – at this point it is revealed that Brendon is an imaginary friend.
‘One day’ warns the reader that something big is about to happen
The repetition of the name in the last line emphasises the sadness the speaker feels at the ‘death’ of Brendon Gallacher
There never have been any Gallachers next door.'
And he died then, my Brendon Gallacher,
flat out on my bedroom floor, his spiky hair,
his impish grin, his funny, flapping ear.
Oh Brendon. Oh my Brendon Gallacher.
Brendon Gallacher then dies from the speaker’s imagination
It is only now that we are given details about how Brendon actually looked