Yes, they will tell legends of the man who swept
eight disks of gold in China’s games, who broke record
after record, flying through the water, in ways I could
not fathom or attempt – not now, not ever in my state.
The man named after lightning will also be remembered,
who ran with ease into history’s annals – with smile saw
the others labor, suffer for breath, while he drew energy
from deeper place, and had some instant to spare and see.
But these two and many others, beautiful, powerful, the
apex physical of man, these have their own humming chorus,
the laurels heaped upon their crowns, money offered by
their patrons. I sing now of those forgotten Olympians.
Yea, these command my wonder and honor, the cripples
who forgot themselves what they ought not do: far excel
those that have two arms and legs in will and spirit to win
and conquer destiny herself, with half their resource and fame.
You think this show grotesque, that they be set against
each other, as a farce of sport. Hate, for what I can change
if their excellence cannot, their courage that exalt sport
for what it ought to be: perfection first of soul, then body.
You see not the miracle of God that shows through them?
That such imposition is as badge of honor for us, for we
show to self the supreme potential of man in extremity,
to rise and command the fates with will and Godly grace.
I need not defend them: their actions are the monument
erected for their memory, the races I sing of as bard of old.
Let their memory shine, that I lived when the paralyzed stood,
and ran, when the deaf rose from water to hear cheering crowd.