Friday Poem: 'My Pitch'

20 October 2017

A Friday Poem from Jackie Kay's new poetry collection, Bantam, which is out in hardback now. 

Let Arthur Wharton come back from the dead
To see the man in black blow the final whistle.
Let the game of two halves be beautiful instead,
Not years ahead. Let every kissing of the badge, 
Every cultured pass, every lad and lass,
Every uttered thought, every chant and rant, 
Every strip and stripe – be free of it.

Then football would have truly played a blinder,
And Arthur returned to something kinder.
Let the man in black call time on all this. 
And Arthur will sing out on the wings,
Our presiding spirit - the first black blade. 
Imagine having everything to play for.
This is our pitch. Now hear us roar. 

Arthur Wharton was the world's first black professional footballer. Find out more about his life and sporting career in this 2014 article from BBC Sport. 



Jackie Kay’s first poetry collection as Scottish Makar, Bantam, is a book about the fighting spirit – one, the poet argues, that we need now more than ever. 

In this collection, Kay brings three generations into sharp focus – her own, her father’s, and his own father’s  – to show us how the body holds its own story. Kay shows how old injuries can emerge years later; how we bear and absorb the loss of friends; how we celebrate and welcome new life; and how we how we embody our times, whether we want to or not. 

Bantam is out in hardback and ebook now.

Read extract  

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