Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday: Liberty and Immigration

"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free... "


We are on our final leg of our May/June theme: Festival of Asian Literature and the Immigrant Experience, so for today’s Poetry Friday, as hosted by our dear friends over at Paper Tigers, I’d like to share an old poem, dating as far back as 1883.

When I read this poem, I realized how even as we look at our neighbors and think we are the same, none of us are really natives unless we are indigenous to the land. Most of us have immigrant ancestors.  I am not personally indigenous to the Philippines. My ancestry has a mix of Chinese, Spanish, and Middle Eastern to it. Most likely some of my great great grandparents were immigrants too.

Today I share Emma Lazarus’ Poem, an apt poem for both our theme and for Myra’s recent trip to the island.

Picture courtesy of Myra

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 fram.

“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!”

What your Poetry Friday offering? What are you thoughts on today’s poem?

9 comments on “Poetry Friday: Liberty and Immigration

  1. This is such a powerful poem – and very humbling. Have you seen Emma’s Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty by Linda Glaser and beautifully illustrated by Claire A. Nivola? It deservedly won the Jane Addams Award in the Books for Younger Children category last year.


    • Hi Marjorie,
      I haven’t read that poem you mentioned. I’ll check it out.
      I was in search of poem related to our theme and when I read it I was blown away. I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂


  2. Pingback: Welcome to the Poetry Friday!

  3. Julie Larios

    My grandfather was born on the boat coming over from Sweden. It’s true – we’re all immigrants. This poem is a great reminder just before the 4th of July of what this country should still be offering people in need. Thanks for posting it.
    I’ve always loved the photograph at this link:


    • Not coming from the US, I didn’t realize how apt indeed this is to the 4th of July. Thank you for sharing that little snippet about your grandfather. The picture is beautiful. thanks for sharing that too. 🙂


  4. I love the poem! 😀


  5. Thank you for these old familiar words today! So powerful and hopeful.


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