The world remembers the brave. Their deeds continue to attest to their bravery, inspire others and, to an extent, influence and shape the course of history.
One of the men whose deeds embodies all the above is ‘the greatest boxer to ever live’, Mohammed Ali. His prowess as a boxer made him a household name; his politics impacted American society and his loud mouth and sense of humor has become a staple for many boxers who have come after him.
It is these incredible achievements that inspired a new poem ” The Greatest Poem Ever” by Koo Kumi, a poet and spoken word artist.
“The Greatest Poem Ever” recounts the history of Ali from his days as a young boxer from Louisville, Kentucky to global phenom and how his fearless spirit fueled him to the plane of greatness.
Koo Kumi employs both historical facts, personal readings and witness statements in writing this poem. For instance, he references his grandfather’s description of Ali’s proficiency: ‘he hit so hard, his opponents wanted to cry’.
For what inspired the poem, Koo Kumi explains it as such:
“I have been a Muhammad Ali fan since childhood. So the life of the man and what he stood for inspired the poem. Especially the way he called himself “the greatest” and became it.
His resilience and swag that gave African American a sense of self worth when he was in his prime. I saw a picture of great African Americans in a community library in my hometown when I was about 11 years old, the librarian pointed Muhammad Ali to me and since then, I wanted to be like him “The Greatest”.
With hard piano chords accompanying his words- 808 drums drop along with hook, Koo Kumi incorporates ring side bell sound, flute rhythms, an Ali speech and the famous ‘Ali Bomaye’ interpolation into this poem.
The clarity in the message, the cadence in delivery and the gripping chant of ‘Ali, who’s the greatest?’ adds to the enchantment of ”The Greatest Poem Ever”.
Koo Kumi captures what he has learnt from Mohammed Ali’s life in this way: ‘I have learnt that, we don’t need a special one to hold the magic wand, and when life hits you in the face, you relax and gauge and hit back with all you got just like you did to George Foreman’.