Poem: “Dear Mister Emmett Till”

Yesterday would have been Emmett Till’s 77 birthday. He was beaten and killed at fourteen years old. His mother wanted the world to see his body after death so the lid of his casket remained open. Here is a link to his story. Last night our poetry class sponsored a reading at Sacred Heart Church. I read this poem in honor of Emmett’s birthday. His death is on the long road of the Civil Rights movement. His case is now being opened up again. Wikipedia. 


Dear Mister Emmett Till

Dear Mister Emmett Till,

Our souls met

After you left your beaten body

Ascending the ladder home

My soul descending

Waiting for my skin.


Your body died three months

Before I was born in 1955.


Our eyes met along the way

In them

I witnessed the pain of your Momma.


When we met without skin

I felt your sadness

As we passed and I knew you were

Trying to tell me something.


Our souls akin exchanged a message

From heaven that we should look

Beyond the colors of our skin

So beatings and killings and shootings

Will never happen because of race or political power.


If you made a mistake with Misses Bryant

You never deserved a beating beyond recognition.

I am so sorry.


I thank your strong Momma

She kept your casket lid open so we could all see

Your black skin ravaged and disfigured

The pain of raising a black body here

In our country of the not so free.


Only A Powerless Black Mother

With great faith could lift high

Her son beaten and ravaged

By ignorance and violence.


I hope on my way home

Mercy and forgiveness have bathed your soul

Where we shall meet singing

And feel without skin

The beauty of our lives.

3 thoughts on “Poem: “Dear Mister Emmett Till”

  1. —-without our skins—-yes, that would level that particular field–hopefully, without skin there would be no gender discrimination and without skin there would be no tell-tale stains of political polarity and religious biases–soul to soul—can we even imaging trying to live that way?? If I follow Jesus, I better figure it out–soon–and model it boldly. A

  2. Just beautiful! And the reading of it last night! I was transported into a world of love, beauty, and kindness. Thank you.

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