Poem: The Last Sermon - LetterPile - Writing and Literature
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Poem: The Last Sermon

Author:
Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA

Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA

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

Comments

Mark Tulin (author) from Santa Barbara, California on March 15, 2019:

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 from LOS ANGELES on March 15, 2019:

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 (author) from Santa Barbara, California on March 11, 2019:

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

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on March 11, 2019:

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

Mark Tulin (author) from Santa Barbara, California on August 31, 2018:

Thanks, Tamara. Definitely a place to visit.

BBYCGN from Uninhabited Regions on August 31, 2018:

Poignant and powerfully touching ❤️

Tamara

Mark Tulin (author) from Santa Barbara, California on May 29, 2018:

Much appreciated, Diane.

Diane Denison from Cincinnati Ohio on May 29, 2018:

I enjoy this poetry Mark ~ ~ ~

Mark Tulin (author) from Santa Barbara, California on May 08, 2018:

Thanks again, manatita44.

manatita44 from london on May 07, 2018:

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

Mark Tulin (author) from Santa Barbara, California on March 29, 2018:

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

manatita44 from london on March 29, 2018:

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

Mark Tulin (author) from Santa Barbara, California on February 23, 2018:

Thank you, Tamara.

BBYCGN from Uninhabited Regions on February 22, 2018:

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

Mark Tulin (author) from Santa Barbara, California on February 17, 2018:

Thanks, Dora. I appreciate your time and feedback.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on February 17, 2018:

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 (author) from Santa Barbara, California on February 17, 2018:

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

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on February 17, 2018:

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