The inscription of the Statue of Liberty has been on my mind. Strange, eh? Don’t know why. I always loved the line Mother Liberty cries out, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free!” It should be a tattoo. The image is haunting, stirring and gives me a swelling feeling that some might mistake for patriotism. 😉 I looked up the whole poem tonight and read it again a few times over. The thought that came to me once I finished: My, how we’ve strayed.
I’m too tired to preach. But that line, that first line – Not like the brazen. Not like the brazen. I could keep saying it.
And she goes on. She tells the old world to keep it’s pomp. But WE, we the new world, WE want the forsaken, the outcasts, the exiles! Give them to us! That desperation. GIVE! You never say give without a please – it’s rude, it’s desperate. BUT give us your poor! GIVE! What a request. And America – America in these few lines, she’s a woman! A tall, unbreakable, dignified woman who carries a torch, not to conquer, not to fight – but to the gather the cast-off, the misfits of all the richer nations. I don’t know – something about that woman – that mother of outcasts, a survivor, a leader, a gatherer of the weak. It gives me pause. I like her. And that poem. I love that poem. I want to sit with it and let it eat at me.
Strange. And I’m tired. But that’s what was on my mind. Goodnite, my lovelies.
The New Colossus
By Emma Lazarus, 1883
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”