Remembering The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus
Because there are moments for Americans to be reminded about the best of who we are, have been, and may become.
‘We have become destroyers of families and childhood, damaging minds and hearts and bodies. It’s not that we haven’t been here before; it’s that we’ve returned to this as a manifestation of strange ideals and self-definition. We surrender our humanity for a new nationalism. We have laid down the lamp beside the golden door and raised rifles and concentration camps in its place.
We. Actively or passively. We, we, we, we, we.
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!”
Miklós Radnóti was on a forced march when the bullet ate him. His body was found among many others exhumed from a mass grave. He had his last poems, his “postcards,” on him.
Foamy Sky – by Miklos Radnoti
The moon sways on a foamy sky,
I am amazed that I live.
An overzealous death searches this age
and those it discovers are all so very pale.
At times the year looks around and shrieks,
looks around and then fades away.
What an autumn cowers behind me again
and what a winter, made dull by pain.
The forest bled and in the spinning
time blood flowed from every hour.
Large and looming numbers were
scribbled by the wind onto the snow.
I lived to see that and this,
the air feels heavy to me.
A war sound-filled silence hugs me
as before my nativity.
I stop here at the foot of a tree,
its crown swaying angrily.
A branch reaches down — to grab my neck?
I’m not a coward, nor am I weak,
just tired. I listen. And the frightened
branch explores my hair.
To forget would be best, but I have
never forgotten anything yet.
Foam pours over the moon and the poison
draws a dark green line on the horizon.
I roll myself a cigarette
slowly, carefully. I live.