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You've read a "Tale of Two Cities."
How about a "Tale of Two Ali's?"
Your Muhammad Ali came from Louisville, Ky., where he learned to box.
My Muhammad Ali — Taha Muhammad Ali — came from Galilee, where he learned to write.
Yours was poetry in motion.
Mine was emotion in poetry.
Your Muhammad Ali used his hands to earn a living in the ring.
Mine used his hands to earn a living selling Christian souvenirs to pilgrims in Nazareth.
Your Muhammad Ali floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee.
Yours objected to war.
So did mine.
Yours recently had a birthday.
Mine, a funeral.
Yours had a heart like a tiger.
Your Muhammad Ali came from humble beginnings, but through hard work, talent and faith in God became a master.
My Muhammad Ali did the same.
When asked to sum up the lessons he had gleaned from life, your Muhammad Ali said: "I believe in myself, and I believe in the goodness of others."
When asked, my Muhammad Ali wrote a poem called "Twigs" that reads, in part:
it has taken me
all of sixty years
that water is the finest drink
and bread the most delicious food,
and that art is worthless
unless it plants
a measure of splendor in people's hearts.