Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates once stood
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Was the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glowed world-wide welcome. And still her 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!
“But should that ‘refuse’ be of darker skin,
Or Asiatic features, think again.
Our welcome is not limitless, you see.
If we’re selective, none dare call it sin -
Those that flee tyrants, we fear to take them in
At least until it’s safe - and that is who knows when?
“So keep your homeless, keep your tempest-tost.
Who knows what welcoming that lot could cost?
(Those Hindus, Buddhists, Mussulmen, and Jews
Possessed with all their strange beliefs and hues)
And do not try to send them all to me.
The eagle flies each Friday, but freedom isn’t free.”
[Apologies to Emma Lazarus]