Better far, from all I see,
To die fighting to be free,
What more fitting end could be?
Better surely than in some bed,
Where in broken health I’m led,
Lingering until I’m dead.
Better than with prayers and please,
Or in the clutch of some disease,
Wasting slowly by degrees.
Better than of heart-attack,
Or some dose of drug I lack,
Let me die by being Black.
Better far that I should go,
Standing here against the foe,
Is the sweeter death to know.
Better than the bloody stain,
On some highway where I’m lain,
Torn by flyin’ glass and pain.
Better calling death to come,
Than to die another dumb,
Muted victim in the slum.
Better than of this prison rot,
If there’s any choice i’ve got,
Kill me here on the spot.
Better far, my fight to wage,
Now while my blood boils with rage,
‘Less it cool with ancient age.
Better violent for us to die,
Than to uncle tom and try,
Making peace just to live a lie.
Better now that i say my sooth,
I’m gonna die demanding truth,
While i’m still akin to youth.
Better now than later,
Now that fear of death is gone,
Never mind another dawn.
— Muhammad Ali, Attica Prison Poem