The New Colossus: An Amendment

statue-of-liberty-1929667_1920

Based on The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus

I don’t claim to be a poet. The last time I studied poetry was probably in high school. That was a while ago. Recently, I was watching a new show (The OA), which featured a scene at the Statue of Liberty. Being from the west coast, I’ve never witnessed the statue in person, and I didn’t know anything about the poem that is featured at the exhibit. But as I listened to the words while watching the show, I felt my chest tightening in sadness and anger. The words really struck a chord with me. Strangely, the following day I saw quite a few news reports referencing the poem and describing feelings I’d become familiar with. With the recent moves the leadership has taken in this country, I felt compelled to amend the original poem by Emma Lazarus. The original words are in italic, my changes are bolded

I keep telling myself that I will fight the urge to be public with my opinions when it comes to politics. But I feel like we’re at a point where it’s not about politics anymore. It’s about humanity. This is my way to work through it, I guess.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
On an island stands a reticent woman refusing to be tamed,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
With a sacred womb policed by man;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
Here across the bay our privileged towers rise above the sand,

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
The false guide beckons forth, her fame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Is the deception set shining, and her new name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Mother of Exile. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
Glows judgement and condemnation of the ways of your homeland;

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
Once a land of poor colonists, now lead by men of wealth who proclaim:

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
Change your idols, your customs, your language; all we decree.

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
With silent lips she warns. “Here there are no longer dreams of grandeur,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
Give me your defenseless who will relinquish civil liberties.

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
The malleable nameless that don’t wish to soar.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
Send the voiceless, the weak, to do cheap labor and become deportees,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
I lift my lamp to warn this land is free no more.”

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6 thoughts on “The New Colossus: An Amendment

  1. Len Kagami January 29, 2017 / 2:18 pm

    I love your last sentence. Strong. Although I am not really in politics, this inhuman action really left me speechles. I guess we will see more “Anne Frank” in the next four year :(

    Liked by 2 people

    • crazykatya January 29, 2017 / 2:24 pm

      Thanks for the feedback. It’s a scary reality we’re facing. I wish so deeply that things were different. If anything comes from the present actions, perhaps it will be pulling others who haven’t been previously involved in politics to being involved – we have to band together and carry on with the strength and compassion of others.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Sumyanna January 29, 2017 / 3:52 pm

    Oh wow – so glad you went ahead and posted it. Fabulous write and sadly a true depiction of how things have been lately. So glad to know I am not alone in feeling bad about the direction things are going…

    Liked by 1 person

    • crazykatya January 29, 2017 / 3:55 pm

      Thanks for the support. I saw your post as well – it helps to see that others have familiar feelings. It’s difficult to share my view sometimes because I fear divide, but there are some topics that need to be fought for, and I must choose what I believe is right. Thank you for the kind words. I’m right here with you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sumyanna January 29, 2017 / 4:03 pm

        Oh, you are definitely not alone there. I hate to say something that will alienate others and usually don’t step out there. I fear though, staying silent at this time when voices need so much to be heard.

        Liked by 1 person

      • crazykatya January 29, 2017 / 4:05 pm

        So well said. Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

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