The jungle the arena, no star spangled city,
The rumble, in that jungle, the game:
Ali Boom-ba-yay the song, the chant,
From villages, townships and slums they came.
Expelled, disgraced, some say humiliated,
This was no man to run, cower or hide:
Man against mortal man, a God to many,
All talking done, stage set to collide.
Collide they did, eight rounds it seemed
One outcome was set, Ali named the dope:
A pounding was given to sweat glistened flesh,
Punched, smashed, pushed against the rope.
Eight rounds one slogged, one punched,
Breath deserted his lungs, muscles distraught:
Until right hook unleashed and down he went,
The dope awoke and a lesson was taught.
The Rumble in the Jungle is one of my favourite sporting topics: as is Muhammad Ali – I did a presentation about him for a leadership course I attended whilst in the Royal Navy and learnt a lot about him: it will be a sad day when he dies. I wrote a short piece on this blog about the Rumble in the Jungle a few weeks ago and you can see the post here.
This poem is for One Stop Poetry’s Saturday Challenge: the challenge has been set by Pete Marshall in conjunction with tonight’s Champion’s League clash between Barcelona and Manchester United at Wembley. Of course I will be watching and hoping Man Utd win because they are English – but as a neutral I hope Barcelona play with the skill and precision they showed against Arsenal and Man Utd with the grit, determination and skill we all know they can. A penalty shoot-out will mean Barcelona will win because no team I have ever supported has won a penalty shoot out: Luton Town being the most recent to ensure they stay out of the football league for another season. Anyway that’s enough about football – pop over to One Stop and have a go at a poem inspired by one of your favourite sporting episodes.