tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (kaylee parasol smiles)
[personal profile] tardis_stowaway
I chose today's poem after reading a fascinating article about the poem inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty.  I knew that there was some bit about "give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses," but I couldn't have told you anything more about the context or the author, not even whether these words were specially written for Lady Liberty or a quote from something else.  I've even visited the Statue of Liberty, but that was over ten years ago, and I'd forgotten if I read the poem.  Turns out those familiar lines are from a sonnet written for the statue's pedestal by Emma Lazarus, a Jewish woman who enjoyed a successful writing career in her day, even if her name gets little recognition today.  (Also, Emma Lazarus is a fantastic name.)  I definitely like the whole poem.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“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-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I am not a patriot, but this is a vision of America I can get behind.  I want to believe in a United States that actively welcomes the downtrodden and oppressed to a chance at a better life.  I want to believe that my country can choose to be a mild-eyed (yet still mighty) Mother of Exiles and not the brazen giant with conquering limbs our foreign policy has often resembled from the mid-twentieth century onwards.  Even 130 years after the poem's composition, this is a powerful and provocative political statement.

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tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (Default)
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