Monday, January 4, 2010

"The Colossus"

This has long been a favorite poem of mine, and it was such a thrill to finally see the original plaque that used to be on the Statue of Liberty. To me, Lazarus' words speak of such hope and possibility for the future, and I thought it would be interesting to juxtapose the dynamic words with a picture taken by Stephen Wilkes of the abandoned hospital wing at Ellis Island where that promise of a new future began for millions of hopeful of people.

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!"

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