Jackie Kay - Here's My Pitch

Here’s My Pitch

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,
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 racism.
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.

Jackie Kay

For the past 11 years the Off the Shelf Festival of Writing and Reading, working with Public Art Consultant Paul Swales, has commissioned writers to create text for pieces of public art. This innovative ongoing project is called Text and the City. A variety of projects have been realised within this project and Sheffield now has a large number of public poems mounted onto buildings across Sheffield.

Jackie Kay was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and brought up in Glasgow. Her first collection of poetry, The Adoption Papers, was published in 1991. Her first novel, Trumpet, published in 1998, was awarded the Guardian fiction prize and was shortlisted for the International Impac Dublin literary award. Other books include two collections of short stories, Why Don’t You Stop Talking (2002) and Wish I Was Here (2006), a novel for children, Strawgirl (2002) and a novella, Sonata (2006). Her latest book of poems is Darling: New and Selected Poems (2007). Jackie lives in Manchester. In 2006, she was awarded an MBE for services to literature.