Narration and Music, “Lady Liberty” c2004, by Karleigh Bon, with a nod to Woody Guthrie
In 1903, a bronze tablet that bears the text of Emma Lazarus’s sonnet, “The New Colossus” (1883), was presented by friends of the poet. Lazarus was an activist and advocate for Jewish refugees fleeing persecution in Czarist Russia. Until the 1986 renovation, it was mounted inside the pedestal; later, it resided in the Statue of Liberty Museum, in the base.
“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!”
Paul Auster wrote that “Bartholdi’s gigantic effigy was originally intended as a monument to the principles of international republicanism, but ‘The New Colossus’ reinvented the statue’s purpose, turning Liberty into a welcoming mother, a symbol of hope to the outcasts and downtrodden of the world.”
John Cunningham wrote that “The Statue of Liberty was not conceived and sculpted as a symbol of immigration, but it quickly became so as immigrant ships passed under the torch and the shining face, heading toward Ellis Island. However, it was [Lazarus’s poem] that permanently stamped on Miss Liberty the role of unofficial greeter of incoming immigrants.”
“Lady Liberty” by Karleigh Bon
Lady stands at the edge of the ocean, strong and beautiful; Searching the land, for the souls with the keys to unlock her heart.
And the wind blows her hair back, drying a tear that flowed down her face for too many years.
Now she’s falling over the precipice into the sea. There is nobody in this land (place) who knows how to love (the rule of love) and this she can’t (won’t) believe!
Helen* stands by the traffic light waiting to cross to the other side…