The Greatest of All Time

Muhammad Ali left the world three years ago, the greatest of all time is gone

Muhammad Ali held the world in his hands, the greatest of all time, lives on

I heard the news of his passing, I woke in the middle of the night
I heard the news of his passing, I listened to the stories and cried

Ali, the greatest of all one has died

Of all the heroes I ever fell for, he was the one that was truly alive
The only one I ever prayed for, the only one I thought Could make a difference in our time.

Ali spoke to the heart, he spoke for justice and freedom, he told the truth, he spoke of love

He spoke to the world the same as he fought, he fought for everyone

He spoke in rhythms that dazzled, in words that hurt

He floated
He stung
Like the butterfly
Like the bee

With the symbols of his fame he struck the powers of the world


He was a prophet in our time, he praised and he scolded, sharp tongued in his youth

He remained a silent witness in his old age, after his voice was taken from him

I remember the day in 1980 when I heard the news that he had lost

Muhammad Ali lost! Ali would never fight again!

All the kids on the school bus murmured, Ali was not the greatest of all

The world stopped making sense.

Muhammad Ali gave my generation permission to be ourselves, be bold, and brag
Be good, do right

Muhammad Ali taught us to question, to challenge authority, to shun war

He taught us to risk the things you desire most, to give up titles, and money, and fame

Muhammad Ali let them go for things that matter most to him

Ali taught us to serve the truth, seek justice, do good as long as we draw breath
He was the greatest of all time

Ali handcuffed lightning and put the thunder in jail

His star rose like the sun
Three years ago it set

Muhammad Ali will never be forgotten, for as long as the world shall spin

Given First (as an essay) – 2016.06.04

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