Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Coming Xenophobia

Originally sent on 10/18/2001:


Too tired to write just now. Been doing some Java and such.

Here's a little poem that I hope can help to blunt the coming xenophobic period in America:

The New Colossus

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-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

Emma Lazarus, NYC, 1883

I first heard the entire poem in a Ken Burns documentary. If you've never read the entire poem before, it sneaks up on you. By the time I get to the last line it always brings tears to my eyes. (Emma Lazarus died in 1884 after visiting Paris. In 1904 part of her poem was engraved on a plaque and affixed to the Statue of Liberty's pedestal.)

Love, Joe

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