Jimmy Yancey were alive, I could imagine his old
black crippled hands playing a rocking bass to this).
you remember Katsambila
That great unregarded wrestler?
He threw white men about in smkey halls
And finished paying for his breakages
In a slum in Camberwell:
He was the master of every lock and fall.
Death caught him cross-buttock at the last.
Or Ali, the greatest of boxers?
The butterfly, the stinging bee?
He’s just alive, somewhere, in a trauma
Of beatings, that world-beater.
Death will have him too, slipping
Inside the lightning counterpunch.
Like a huge and falling comet
The voice of Robeson calls to them
From the sky over Africa, the sky over America.
Down, Lord, oh far down, Death has all these
Great ones down on the canvas but
His voice is gentle as he counts them out.
It’s Waller’s witty voice now,
Counting bar by bar, blue note by blue,
‘Ain’t misbehaving, just saving my love for you!’
Lifting up their broken hands into the blue arena,
Lifting up their hands,
Lifting up their broken hands.
Do you remember Katsambila?