Lady Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor,/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free ….”

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!”

“The Mother of Exiles,” a gift from France and dedicated in Oct. 1886, stands tall in New York Harbor, and welcomes all comers yearning to breathe free; immigrants, exiles, the homeless, refugees. Let’s not forget that with the exception of Native Americans, all Americans are the descendants of wave after wave of immigrants. Americans come in all colors, shapes and sizes,  and as a composite, we are as richly textured as all humanity, and yet …

“One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”


“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” – Thomas Jefferson 1743 – 1826




About Margaret Jean Langstaff

A lifelong critical reader with literary tastes, a novelist, short story writer, essayist, book critic, and professional book editor for many years. A consultant to publishers and authors, providing manuscript critiques and a full range of editorial services. A friend and supporter of all other readers and writers. A collector of signed modern first editions. Animal lover and tree hugger. Follow me on Twitter @LangstaffEditor
This entry was posted in American Literature, Literature, poets, Politics and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Lady Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor,/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free ….”

  1. dgkaye says:

    Such a poignant and beautiful post of hope and reminder Margaret. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Deb. There are those today who would abridge our lawful rights and disavow the timeless values in our republic’s foundational documents (The Constitution, the Bill of Rights and so on). We must tirelessly call such people out, resist their efforts – whatever the cost – or one day wake up and find ouselves mute and in chains.

      Liked by 1 person

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