(A TRIBUTE TO WILMA RUDOLPH)
By PETER ELIAS, 1995
Five long years before your birth
Roman plunder spoiled our land
For Ethiopia’s sake you ran
And proudly took the victory stand.
By then the Allies had restored
Some sanity to life on earth
You arrived in Rome to show the world
Your triumph from a Dixie birth.
Fired up by Jesse’s feat
In that adjacent Axis city
With grace and pace for all to see
Gold, not one, or two, but three.
Countless other women tried
To reach your mark and failed
Battling on with maladies
Wilma’s will to live prevailed.
In track you carved your personal path
From Tennessee to Italy
Reaching ever for the stars
The best that you could ever be
We said goodbye to you O QUEEN
In the Fall of ninety-four
We dearly miss that golden smile
And the heart that beats no more.
*Note: Wilma Rudolph overcame major health problems (childhood polio) and racism in the US south to compete in two Olympic Games and become a triple Olympic champion. She was the first American woman to win three gold medals at a single Olympics in 1960, at the Summer Games in Rome. She was considered the fastest woman in the world. Her life is a great inspiration for us, as we face today’s many challenges.
From Earth, Wind and Fire, by Peter Elias, Halifax, 1995