Read Carol Ann Duffy’s Poem For Women’s Football

By Olivia Emily

8 months ago

Read ‘We See You’ below


You might know Carol Ann Duffy best from GCSE poetry anthologies – whether that’s yours or your children’s – with her poems acting as a snippet of British life, covering the likes of love, gender and oppression in simple terms. Though she hasn’t been poet laureate since 2019 – a role that requests poetic commentary on national events – the Glaswegian poet has published a team-talk style poem commemorating women’s football and honouring its trailblazers, in partnership with Three’s ‘WeSeeYou’ Network.

Carol Ann Duffy’s Poem For Women’s Football

Dame Carol Ann Duffy releases a poem commissioned by Three UK, Chelsea FC’s Official Mobile Network Partner, to mark the second year of the ‘WeSeeYou’ Campaign, a platform aiming to recognise, reward and connect women in sport

© Doug Peters/PA Wire

Duffy’s poem ‘We See You’ is a sonnet, dedicating 14 lines to women’s football in the style of a team talk from the nation. Drawing on the sport’s trailblazers, past and present, the poem pays homage specifically to Lily Parr, Mary Phillip, Katie Chapman, Carly Telford, Millie Bright, Pat Dunn, Emma Hayes, Eni Aluko and Karen Carney.

The sonnet is named for Three’s ‘WeSeeYou’ Network, a national platform created with Chelsea FC that aims to recognise, reward and connect women in sport. Nominations for ‘WeSeeYou Network’ are open now until 11 February 2024.

‘The poem is an ode to every woman from the pitch to the boardroom, the communities and grassroots who are helping to level the playing field,’ Duffy says. ‘I grew up in a footballing family; my father was an amateur manager and my brothers played with the local teams. It was ever present in my life growing up. The recent success of the women’s national team has helped bring mainstream interest to the women’s game, however there is a rich history of triumphant trailblazers to be explored. That’s why I wanted to get behind this campaign.’

WeSeeYou

‘We See You’ by Carol Ann Duffy

That rain-heavy, leather ball your left foot smashed a century ago

has reached us here, and so we see you, Lily Parr,

in hindsight’s extra time; linked to our female, family chain

of passing forwards… to Mary Phillip, first black Captain

of the Pride, Katie Chapman, Carly Telford, Millie Bright.

We see you too, Pat Dunn- you blew your whistle

and the game kicked off for women referees. Red card for misogyny,

Free kick for progress. We’re all onside. Team-sheets are the dreams

of managers- shout out the golden days of Emma Hayes – which make us visible

to thirty, forty, fifty thousand fans… so good, so good, so good…

from grassroots team to League to Euros to the World. Now.

Women’s voices- Eni Aluko, Karen Carney – tell the poetry of play

We’ll find you- 10 years old, girl with ball, incredible to be you.

So here’s our Team Talk: We’re right behind you. And we see you.

Learn more about Three’s WeSeeYou network at weseeyounetwork.co.uk