16th Street Baptist Church Speaks By Michael Christopher Poem by Scott Sims

16th Street Baptist Church Speaks By Michael Christopher

I was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1911 on 16th
By born, I mean they finish my construction.
I was erected as an edifice to the Almighty
A place the worship.
A rally point for justice fighters
And a war room for the commanders of the cause.
I can name drop, but that we rude:
Martin Luther King, Ralph Dvid Abernathy.
Thousands of people release millions of
prayers beneath my roof.
I stood witness to hopes, dreams, marriages and baptisms.
But of all the dignitaries of grace my pues,
The most important, the most precious were Denise, Addy Mae, Carolyn and Cynthia.
Those 4 girls were visiting me for Sunday school or something to like.
There's a lot of turmoil in the old days.
I could tell because of all the comings and goings and whatnot.
Some fuss about integration.
Even our illustrious Governor, George Wallace, has something to say about the issues of the day.
Let me see, I think what he said was: 'to stop integration, Alabama
needed a few first-class funerals.'
Shortly after, a white gentleman place a package under my steps.
At the time I was over 50 years old and I had I grown to know what the faces of men meant.
Each one told a story or revealed his heart.
I knew that was no gift set before me.
I could feel the spirit of the lord shutter with grief and I knew I had to do something, for those four little girls are still within me.
Girls! Girls you gotta get! Get on from round here!
But maybe, if my steeple wasn't just a tower,
I could do more than babble.
I tried so hard.
I yelled with everything I had:
Girls! Girls you gotta get-get on home now!
But all they can hear was me moan and creek like I was settling in my foundation.
I was no longer like the servant Peter, I could not be there rock.
In that split second of eternity, I tried to contain the blast.
I held back the wave of Satan's Hellfire like I hold on every prayer whispered in my walls.
I use all my strength to stop the embers.
I refused the shards.
I stop the splitters.
I bound ever brick.
I subdued the morter.
I stood in the gap in the twinkling of an eye,
My god needed to call them home.
And in that moment of forever, they felt the love of my lord!
But even eternity must end.
I could not hold back the blast forever and I realized all I could do was blanket their bodies in what was left of me.
Swallow them in my destruction.
Tuck them in with my dust.

I won't name the white supremacist who was convicted of this horrific crime,
But Denise Mcnair, Addy Mae Collins, Carole Roberston
and Cynthia Wesley transfigured into a spark,
That fan the plains of freedom!
And I,
I had the honor,
I had the….
I am so sorry that I could not save you.

Friday, March 17, 2017
Topic(s) of this poem: racism
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