tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (kaylee parasol smiles)
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.

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The New Colossus )

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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.
tardis_stowaway: spock giving live long and prosper sign with caption "be excellent to each other" (be excellent to each other)
I was pondering putting up a poem by Langston Hughes, one of the ones I'm familiar with such as "Dream Deferred" or "Theme for English B."  Instead, I found "Let America Be America Again" while browsing through a selection of his poetry.   This was the first time I've read it , but it really resonated with me. It speaks with the particular historical voice of Hughes, an African-American poet writing in 1938, but it is still far too relevant today.

Let America Be America Again )

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