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Poetry Magnum Opus

Ali Still Champion @ London Olympics

Frank E Gibbard

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Frank E Gibbard

Muhammad Ali, Cassius Clay as was

hailed from humble home but shed

the cloak of former humility when

on his head he wore both the laurel

of Olympic champion and the whole

world he then bestrode so grandly.


His people had been cruelly humbled

enslaved, abused and laid so low,

yet every blow he made upon a foe

raised him that higher, less humbled;

humbling bums, beating ex-criminals

ex-champs, boxing cleverly, quipping,

lip unzipping making chumps of solid

lumps. For in the world of one-worded

he the many-syballic was king, prized

for wit even aiming funny poetry jabs,

ho ho blows, to go with his vocal stabs.


Self-named, I am he said: "The Greatest"

a great like Alexander, Ali was the latest

conqueror of lessers by his heavy hand

man of his faith though who never bumbled

as Lennon did in fatal misunderstood claim

to fame beyond Jesus. It's plain as rain he's

famed as any human could be, hard then

to expect in him an undue grain of humility.


His country tried to humiliate him in jail

as he wouldn't make war on Vietnam

but would fail to down the heavyweight;

they took his crown but did not diminish

his due renown, majestically rethroned

on the title that he owned, rightly proud

winning a prized fight, yet more lionised.


If in happy happenstance I was by chance

into this great man's presence to stumble

I would so gladly extend my humble hand

and shake his no doubt shaky one and I'd

like so many before me, certainly crumble.


Viewed again by many millions via TV so recently

ill as he is a crowd cheered (pre-Olympic rumbles).

Unsteady yet still proud and unbowed was Ali's head,

hit by disease but the great fighter's will is unhumbled.

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  • 3 weeks later...

What a tribute, Frank! A remarkably fluid read. When I saw it, I thought what a long poem for the subject. But it kept me reading, wondering what would come next and how you wrap it up. My conclusion -- it's not too long, not too short; it's just right.



Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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