The Old Colossus

Her torch fell with a mighty splash.
The big green lady, with a crash
Sat down in such a sudden flurry
She nearly sank a passing ferry
And the book she dropped, which weighed a ton,
Sent tremors through nearby Bayonne.
“I’ve stood here, looking out to sea,
Till all of me is verdegris
and, in the snow and ice and drench
and pigeon shit, I’ve lost my French.
Still, as a lighthouse, I was sent
(but, being French, more elegant)
And, though the only job I’ve had,
I have to say, it wasn’t bad—
Until this dead-eyed balding goblin
Appeared and tried to do my job in
With floods of facts and little snarks,
Dog-whistles and veiled race remarks
Because his master’s one conclusion
On immigration is exclusion.
We take in folk from all the globe—
We always have—a xenophobe
Whose grandpa smelled of sauerkraut
Should think of that and not keep out
The immigrants or send them back
Because their skin is brown or black
(especially when—as can be seen—
His own skin is pale tangerine).
I’m here for all—no special passes
For those who don’t need English classes,
But those in need, fled here when war
Or prejudice brings them ashore—
Just as the poem says—it’s true!
And that, dear goblin, goes for you
Whose greatgrandparents came when young
And learned here how to speak the tongue
This new act would demand before
They joined us—something you ignore
As do the masses who support
That big-mouthed man whose memory’s short.
But now—I’m done! You’ve had your chance!
I’m emigrating–back to France!
We’ll see if there there still can be
Some folk who’re yearning to breathe free!”
With that, she stood and quickly waded
Into the bay and soon had faded,
The last thing seen from here in town
The top point of her sinking crown.


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