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]