A Poetic Reflection On The Life of Muhammad Ali

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Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted Posted on 2016-04-28

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A Poetic Reflection On The Life of Muhammad Ali

Part One: Ali the Fighter

He floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee,
the greatest fighter the world has yet to see.

On one thing his opponents agree, they all got it right;
in the ring with Ali your life was in danger that night.

Had he lived in the time of Marciano, Joe Louis, or Max Schmeling, his superiority over all of the former would be telling.

Had he fought Tyson or Holyfield at the height of his career, on the list of heavyweight champions their names would not appear.

For his right was full of power and his left was relentless, he’d whup people so bad he’d have to seek his Lord’s repentance.

So when you discuss the greatest heavyweight of all-time, to mention any name other than Ali’s is a crime!

Part Two: Ali the Man

With the grace of a butterfly and the tenacity of a bee,
he struck many a blow against injustice and inequality.

Coming of age in an era of legal segregation, he came to symbolize the highest values of the nation.

Standing up for the truth, defying the warmongering throng, he declared, “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Vietcong!”

He refused to take up the gun and then pull the trigger, quipping, “Ain’t no Vietcong ever called me nigger!”

Knowing when to attack and when to retreat, he brought an entire nation to its feet;

Not to cheer his exploits going down in the ring, but to fall right in line with Malcolm and King.

Willing to give up his title, the money, the lights, he dedicated himself to another fight.

The fight for truth and justice to liberate lands occupied, by the highest court in the land his case would not be denied.

To fight that particular battle was not a mean feat, but in the arena of life he would know no defeat.

With a heart made of gold and a spirit to match, he was able to rebuild his life almost starting from scratch.

With the fuel of love and the flame of good, he lit the fire of hope in the hearts of many boys and girls in the ‘hood.

Not knowing the word “I can’t,” he was never deterred, and because of his example many a dream was not deferred.

Now slowed by time and far removed from the training camp, he will always be known as the people’s champ.


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