Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The story behind the poem on the Statue of Liberty

New York Times: How a Sonnet Made a Statue the ‘Mother of Exiles’


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!"

Emma Lazarus, 1883

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I view poetry as a kind of conversation, but on a different level, so feel free to write a comment or drop a few lines of verse in response.

Also, please feel free to offer suggestions or edits that can improve the work. I won't take it personally. ;-)