I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world, to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

21 June 2016

Goodbye Muhammad

that death should finally KO
The Greatest.
We thought he’d be here
always – older and slower, yes,
but still with that smile
lurking in his eyes.

But he taught us
nothing is impossible.
He said that. He showed us,
living his life
on his own terms.
Ah, but death 
sets its own terms too.

Ali is already
two and a half weeks gone,
with his dancing feet 
and his stinging fists,
his wicked words
and his beauty …
his proud head, even in age.

The people of his home
say they remember 
a child who never gave up,
they remember the young hero,
and most of all they recall
the private years 
of a kind, wise old man.

The early dark comes down.
It’s winter solstice here.
We are already a little past
full moon. Brightness
waxes and wanes,
but the good 
don’t always die young.

Written for the latest Tuesday Platform at 'imaginary garden with real toads'. We were asked if we had written anything on the passing of Muhammad Ali. I hadn't – I thought Gail Hennessy's tribute said it perfectly, and far more economically than this – but, since we were invited....


  1. I think you have captured his spirit perfectly... the child growing up especially touching.

  2. He captured our imagination like no other. He was regarded as the most famous person in the world, because he was not only a fighter, but a good will ambassador. Whoever the most famous person is now, they're not going to measure up to his standard. Nicely done, Rosemary.

  3. Rosemary - A fitting tribute. Loved these lines, they fit the image in my mind of him.
    "with his dancing feet
    and his stinging fists,
    his wicked words"
    But I also like the image of him later, as a quiet older man. That you linked the ending to the moon, its waxing and waning - captured me, and made me love it even more. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I love this. Wise and perfect words.

  5. Phew! I really love your final stanza, the images of the passage of time are very strongly felt.

  6. What a nice tribute. Made me think. I like the use of KO in the first line. Down for the count.

  7. Beautiful, Rosemary. It brought memories, I remember him back to when he was Casious Clay.

  8. That smile in his eyes...I saw it too.