Monday, September 29, 2014

Boxer's Lament

On Cleveland's west side, last Sunday, a memorial triple statue group was publicly inaugurated for John Patrick Kilbane *1889, 1957†. Only Joe Louis Barrow held a boxing class title longer. Now, as approaching a century after Kilbane became famous there began commemorations.

Kilbane was a  poor boy from St. Malachi's. His mother died when he was three; and after his father became blind, the boy left grade school for work. Hey, this was America in the gilded age. Child labor, and unemployable incomeless parents made the American dream.

I am just a poor boy...
Asking only workman’s wages
I come looking for a job
But I get no offers...
In the clearing stands a boxer
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of every glove that laid him down
And cut him till he cried out...

But the fighter still remains...

In 1968, Paul Simon was reading the Bible and feeling beat up and he wrote a masterpiece, he and another guitarist layed out beautiful instrumentation for it in the studio. The Boxer, is a lament, a song of grief. Laments are beyond ancient, the soul cries for relief.

Kilbane wrote an article while he was still champion. He wrote, that at first he did not understand the crowd, but as time passed he realised. “The admiration goes for the struggler.”

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