Poem: The Last Sermon

Updated on February 16, 2018
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 colors, 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 cloud of ignorance:

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 truth and hope.

Like a dancing butterfly,

it made me smile.


That day in an old Atlanta church,

I heard his last sermon,

and I felt his compassion

and his dream.


Ebenezer Baptist Church

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      • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Tulin 

        7 weeks ago from Santa Barbara, California

        Thanks, Tamara. Definitely a place to visit.

      • Rhyme Vine Poetry profile image

        Yancosky 

        7 weeks ago from Uninhabited Regions

        Poignant and powerfully touching ❤️

        Tamara

      • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Tulin 

        4 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

        Much appreciated, Diane.

      • Diane Denison profile image

        Diane Denison 

        4 months ago from Cincinnati Ohio

        I enjoy this poetry Mark ~ ~ ~

      • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Tulin 

        5 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

        Thanks again, manatita44.

      • manatita44 profile image

        manatita44 

        5 months ago from london

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

      • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Tulin 

        6 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

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

      • manatita44 profile image

        manatita44 

        6 months 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 

        8 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

        Thank you, Tamara.

      • Rhyme Vine Poetry profile image

        Yancosky 

        8 months ago from Uninhabited Regions

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

      • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Tulin 

        8 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

        Thanks, Dora. I appreciate your time and feedback.

      • CaribTales profile image

        Dora Weithers 

        8 months 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 

        8 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

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

      • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

        Tim Truzy 

        8 months 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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