Poems by Linda Lappin

 

 

B.A.M.

We were born to a Broad Assed

Marine; her boots reflected firelight.

This was our mother. Her OJ thinned

By vodka; and her head above us

In a swirl of gray smoke.

 

We lurched through childhood,

A toe-headed troop wearing clown Band-Aids,

Building bed tents and plotting our escape.

 

The first skirmish lasted through our teens.

The final detente left us estranged

From each other and our sergeant.

 

Years later I returned to find her

Standing dazed in a station

Her shadow rippling

Across a passing train.

 

The plaque needs an edit

 

1. first just a slight change to the ending

 

Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

 

WHICH WILL SLAM SHUT BEFORE YOU CAN ENTER

AND, GUNS DRAWN, GUARDS WILL DRAG YOU FAR

FROM YOUR HOPED FOR FREEDOMS:

the dream of honest work, of shelter, of education, and peace

AND we will DISGRACE YOUR CULTURE, YOUR FAITHS, YOUR FAMILIES

In our press, on our streets, and in our legislatures.

 

We who arrived here long ago have hung a sign

on our backs—like the signs seen in the “gas Crisis”

LAST CAR.

There will be no light for an open door.

we no longer give refuge to the hopeless poor.

 

2. The new version should read

 

Give me your scientists, your corporate rich,

some cheap labor, and investors, with a clever plea.

And the wealthy gentry from any shore.

Send these, the economic pillagers to me,

I lift my lamp and hold wide the golden door!"

 

 

More Poems by Linda


Here is the original Plaque on the Statue of Liberty, Poet Emma Lazarus' sonnet "The New Colossus", written in 1883 for an auction to raise funds for the Statue's pedestal and later engraved on a bronze plaque placed in that very pedestal, best expresses the impact the Statue of Liberty continues to have on people across America and throughout the world:

 

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land
Here at our sea-washed, sunset fates 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!”