Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Ides of March: National Women's Month: Emma Lazurus' Sonnet "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!” 

Emma Lazarus was a poet, essayist, and activist, and translator, who's best remembered for verses from her sonnet, "The New Colossus", which are immortalized on the bronze plaque beneath the Stature of Liberty in New York Harbor (NY, NY). A more extensive bio can be found here.

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