Tuesday, July 22, 2008

oh what a 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.

"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!"
'the new colossus' by emma lazarus, 1883

in 1849 on 22 july the poet emma lazarus was born in new york city to esther nathan and moses lazarus. I wonder if was it emma's heritage as a sephardic jew, a group of people who were expelled from spain for the simple reason that they were jews, which led her to become an advocate of disenfranchised immigrants? when emma wrote her most famous poem, thousands upon thousands of immigrants were arriving on the shores of the united states. both sides of my family were among the waves of huddled masses yearning to breathe free that showed up while emma lived (or slightly thereafter, emma died quite young at age 38) . emma's brilliant poem has shined its light on the american imagination for a century and it has shaped how many of us feel about freedom and exile.

also born on 22 july is the absolutely fabulous and talented rufus wainwright. how could rufus not be a gifted musician - his mother is kate mcgarrigle and his father is loudon wainwright III! like emma before him, rufus is involved in the struggle for advancing human rights and equality to all people.

to celebrate emma and rufus' birthdays is rufus singing 'oh what a world' - and yes 'life is, beautiful' would make a most wonderful headline!


photo: lady liberty as seen from the boat going over to ellis island (not to be processed but to tour the amazing ellis island national monument ). this photo was scanned from a film print, whomever was processing my photos in 1999 weren't always too concerned about the quality of the processing.

11 comments:

Squirrel said...

Love this post--again you manage to put together favorite things... Lady Liberty, Emma's poem, the song...

The statue means so much to so many.

Anonymous said...

Another cool blog page by YOU. I love Rufus Wainwright - thanks for featuring him and Emma today.

It IS a wonderful world.... really.

edward said...

this makes me want to take a trip to see the statue or Liberty and to Ellis Island.

Steve said...

Emma Lazarus and Rufus Wainwright -- now THERE's a combination! (I love your blog. I never know what I'll find. :) )

Reya Mellicker said...

Love the song! And of course I love the Goddess of America and her devotees, including Emma. Lady Liberty (and Emma, too) are awesome, as are you!

Coffee Messiah said...

Very nice! ; )

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

Great post, so hopeful and uplifting!
Yeah, here's to striving for freedom and equality, always.

R.L. Bourges said...

of course, the woman in Graulhet will remind those who may have forgotten that the Statue of Liberty was sculpted by Frenchman Frédéric Bartholdi and donated to the United States by the Franco-American Union.

Since I mention Bartholdi and you are posting an impressive lion on your next post, I'll also mention that Bartholdi's other celebrated sculpture is the Lion of Belfort which you can see here

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lion_of_Belfort

best to you, petite souris

mouse (aka kimy) said...

thanks for the wonderful comments... great energy colliding on july 22nd and happy to learn others enjoyed my putting the links together.

eddie - I hear you. I need to make another trip back to ellis island I think 1999 may have been the last time I visited. magical place and I hear it's gotten so much better!

steve - I'm glad I can put up a surprise now and again!

reya - aw....back at ya!

av - are you back posting? have to click over to see!

rlb - ah viva the french and m. bartholdi for his gift and the thousands and thousands of u.s. schoolchildren who donated their pennies, nickels and dimes so lady liberty could shine her brilliant torch. thanks for the lion of belfort link.....

WAT said...

Rufus is really interesting and haunting almost...

Gary said...

Since I have been out of town I have not had the opportunity to read up on my favorite blogs so I am behind. But this morning I was trying to catch up but thanks to you I have gotten lost in the world of Rufus. I love his music. Your video post led me to watch others and thanks to you I am STILL woefully behind in my blog reading. (It was worth it!)