Saturday, July 4, 2009

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
An 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, 1883

1. The post’s title, which is also the title of the poem, refers to the Statue of Liberty.
2. The first two lines of the poem refer to the ancient Colossus of Rhodes.
3. No matter what you may have learned in school, the twin cities mentioned in the poem are not Minneapolis and St. Paul. They are New York and Brooklyn. Brooklyn became a part of New York City in 1898. Emma Lazarus is buried in Brooklyn.
4. New York Harbor has not been “air-bridged” since the Verrazano- Narrows Bridge was completed in 1964. --RWP]


  1. Thank you, Robert, no one yet has said iy better.

  2. Great Independence Day post, rhymsie! Not sure that I've ever read the first part of that poem. Good for you to post it. Thanks and enjoy the holiday weekend in Tampa!

  3. After reading this I wanted to know why Emma Lazarus died so young - it was Hodgkin's Disease. She was only thirty eight. In her day she was a well-regarded New York socialite from a well-heeled Jewish family. She really did articulate what that statue ought to mean to America and indeed to the rest of the world.

  4. I've always really liked this poem.

  5. a little soppy, don't you think???????but very effective, we had a testimony meetiing and everyone who spoke generqally think we don't appreciate the LAND