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The New Colossus -- a Poetry Friday post

As a Jewish American, Emma Lazarus was particularly concerned with the plight of Jewish refugees who were entering the U.S. at the time in order to escape pogroms in Russia and eastern Europe; beginning in 1882, she began providing technical education to allow immigrants in New York City to become self-sufficient.

In 1883, Emma Lazarus wrote a sonnet that is literally etched into American history -- it's on a brass plaque affixed to the base of the Statue of Liberty.

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!"


This week's Poetry Friday roundup is at Farm School.





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Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
lizannewrites
Jul. 6th, 2007 12:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks for posting this
I've never read/didn't remember the first stanza thanks for posting =)
kellyrfineman
Jul. 6th, 2007 01:51 pm (UTC)
Re: Thanks for posting this
I only knew the "give me your tired, your poor" part, because it's so often quoted. I like the image of America in this poem quite a lot (more than it's general image these days, in any event).
slatts
Jul. 6th, 2007 12:51 pm (UTC)
ditto to Lizanne...you never "hear" that part...

Mother of Exiles....
kellyrfineman
Jul. 6th, 2007 01:52 pm (UTC)
Wonderful, no?
slatts
Jul. 6th, 2007 01:55 pm (UTC)
wonderful, yes!

I like that first stanza...so, appropriate for this week of the fourth and w/ immigration such a hot topic these days!
linbinwriter
Jul. 6th, 2007 01:38 pm (UTC)
It wasn't until fairly recently, when my friend started writing a children's book about Emma Lazarus, that I learned what an interesting woman she was. As a New Yorker, I've always felt especially connected to Lady Liberty. Or maybe it's just my green foam Statue of Liberty crown that I wear whenever possible.
kellyrfineman
Jul. 6th, 2007 01:52 pm (UTC)
Hee.
houseofglee
Jul. 6th, 2007 03:27 pm (UTC)
Hurrah for Emma Lazarus and the Statue of Liberty. I became fiercely devoted to Lady Liberty in third grade, around the time I saw "Mary Poppins" and realized I was a women's libber....I was also steamed that I couldn't vote. I love to vote!
kellyrfineman
Jul. 6th, 2007 04:49 pm (UTC)
Votes for Women!
Votes for women, step in time . . .

If you ever head east, you should head to Seneca Falls, New York, birthplace of the women's rights movement. In addition to visiting Elizabeth Cady Stanton's house, you can go to the National Museum of Women's History and the National Women's Hall of Fame. Plus, it's reportedly the basis for Bedford Falls, in "It's a Wonderful Life".
houseofglee
Jul. 6th, 2007 09:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Votes for Women!
Ah! I grew up in the East, and even spent a few years in New York, but I never made it up to Seneca Falls. One of these years...
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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