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The Lorraine

April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. Mike Vrabel, a member of Sparta United Methodist Church, wrote this poem and gave me permission to post it on this website on April 4, 2011 forty-three years later.

The Lorraine

by Mike Vrabel

An empty room, like Jesus’ tomb, keeps dark memories of a past

that once scorched the Memphis sky

Like a lightning rod of injustice that left us screaming why

This place knows the horrible deed

These walls saw Martin fall, this balcony felt him bleed

This pulpit of a preacher, this throne of a King

This hallowed, martyred ground where we heard that shot ring

Is frozen in time, a scar that won’t heal

Until the dreamer that died here has heard his appeal

The resonant cadence of his strident voice still echoes off these walls

Echo as the trumpets at Jericho, until the wall of hatred falls

And unto those who say in their self-righteous bombast

That the need for the dream has long since been passed

Then open your eyes to the stark streets of despair

Where children exist on a mother’s soft prayer

Where schools are neglected, where you never dare go

Do you fear for your safety, or is it deeper than you know?

It’s easier to hate from a distance away

Where you can’t see the suffering and your children can play

So listen my children to the winds at this place

They whisper his name so we cannot erase

The terrible, pungent memories of a dark April day

When the life of a man was stolen away

But the dream that he sowed like seeds in a field

Is rooted against the wind, never to yield

© Copyright 2011 by Mike Vrabel

One thought on “The Lorraine

  1. ssvenningsen says:

    Thanks for your thoughts about Amy, Ann. It seems that the tide is flowing!
    Sandy Svenningsen

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