Thursday, February 18, 2010


“Well, I don't know what will happen now”
Martin Luther King April 3 1968 Mason Temple, Memphis Tennessee

He breathes in long and deep
but his mouth is desert dry.
He almost gags on his words
but swallows hard down
and carries on through glutinous fear.

Suddenly he forgets himself.
His eyes focus sharp, alert
on a distant light
his words sure and steady,
rise through the crowd.

But then silence breaks in
his wild eyes stare out -
his mind wrestles with death
for a moment
and again he finds his voice
pushes it on.

With wide eyes he blinks back tears,
searches the roaring crowd -
and stares into the barrel of a camera.
then slumps like a child into a chair
and the fragile embrace of a friend.

© David Loffman

You can watch the speech this poem is based on by following this link or click on the title of the poem at the top of the page. Martin Luther King's Last Speech.

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