Poem: The Last Sermon

Updated on February 8, 2019
Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA
Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA | Source

The Ebenezer Baptist Church

A few years ago, I visited the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. There, I sat alone and listened to perhaps our country’s greatest leader and public speaker. I sat solemnly through his last sermon before he was assassinated on April 4, 1968. Although the sermon, the Drum Major Instinct, was piped in from an old recording, it felt like he was in the church. The ghost of Martin Luther King stood before me as I watched in awe. His message was alive that day in the old, historic church in the Sweet Auburn neighborhood. It inspired this poem.

The Last Sermon

I sat in the pew

of an old church

In Atlanta, Georgia.


I prayed with a ghost,

a murdered man's spirit,

the red flowers that were laid

on his grave and the carriage

that drove him there.


I listened

to the piped-in sermon

in a reflective pool of water.

His presence surrounded me

with brown angels

lifting me high

above the mountaintops

where people joined hands—

all religions, all races.


I saw him at the podium,

short in stature but tall,

strong but gentle.

His sweat poured

down my brow.

His warm caring hands

gripped my shoulders.


He shook me.

He woke me up

from my blindness:

Imploring, crying out

for everyone’s freedom.


His quivering voice

trembled with passion,

his heart pounded with love,

his soul was alive and vibrant.


His words injected me

with a serum of truth.

Like a dancing butterfly,

it gave me hope.


That day in an old Atlanta church,

I heard his last sermon,

and I could feel his dream.


Ebenezer Baptist Church

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    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      16 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Thank you, Dana. I had the pleasure of seeing his church twice and spending time sitting in the pew. I feel that I know his spirit, even if we’ve never met.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 

      16 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      Beautiful Tribute,

      If he could somehow know how he touched your life, then he would surely know that his time on earth mattered.

    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      17 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

      You’re welcome, Miebakagh. Indeed, he was a thing of beauty on the pulpit.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      17 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hello, Mark, I appreciated this poem. It is very significant because Marin Luther is an anhistorical figure I admired. Thanks for sharing.

    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      23 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Thanks, Tamara. Definitely a place to visit.

    • Rhyme Vine Poetry profile image

      BBYCGN 

      23 months ago from Uninhabited Regions

      Poignant and powerfully touching ❤️

      Tamara

    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      2 years ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Much appreciated, Diane.

    • Diane Denison profile image

      Diane Denison 

      2 years ago from Cincinnati Ohio

      I enjoy this poetry Mark ~ ~ ~

    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      2 years ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Thanks again, manatita44.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      2 years ago from london

      Nice touch Mark. A charming and yet touching piece. Lantern.

    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      2 years ago from Santa Barbara, California

      manatita44, thanks for pointing that out to me. Warm Regards.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      2 years ago from london

      I like the way you identify with great souls and try to feel their spirit. A loving quality, great poetry.

    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      2 years ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Thank you, Tamara.

    • Rhyme Vine Poetry profile image

      BBYCGN 

      2 years ago from Uninhabited Regions

      This is a powerfully moving poem. I am glad you shared it!

    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      2 years ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Thanks, Dora. I appreciate your time and feedback.

    • CaribTales profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      This is an experience to treasure. Thanks for sharing it in poetry. "His words injected me with truth and hope. Like a dancing butterfly, it made me smile." I know that these words fell on "good ground."

    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      2 years ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Thanks, Tim. I’ll be happy to share the pew with you.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      2 years ago from U.S.A.

      Thank you, Mark. Your words brought tears to my eyes. You have a powerful use of the English language in your poetry. I can't recall reading anything as potent and tender about that last sermon. I will keep revisiting this one simply for the magnitude of emotions expressed, and I will join you in that church every time I read this riveting work.

      Sincerely,

      Tim

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