In This Wild City

Migrants Under Texas Bridge Seeking Asylum in United States, September 2021

The New Colossus

by Emma Lazarus

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-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

There is a tragic gap between the dream that was once America and the current migrant crisis.  Like so many complex issues facing our society any and all solutions seem to be overwhelmed by the enormity of the problem. How does poetry connect to humanitarian issues like immigration?    Is poetry relevant anymore in informing and communicating the human condition?   If the Statue of Liberty was being erected in 2021 for the first time, what poem do you think would be selected to commemorate and honor it’s significance today? 

The Pink Crosses

by Amanda Auchter
Ciudad Juárez, Mexico

In this wild city, we are bones
scattered in the valley’s grave. An apron,
a white tennis shoe, a face gone
missing. A mother leans over the dust

scattered in the valley’s grave. An apron
around her waist, on her way to work. The
missing. A mother leans over the dust
and carves her daughter’s initials. Her name

around her waist, on her way to work. The
bones wait to be found; there are always bones. She prays
and carves her daughter’s initials. Her name,
Veronica, and the others, EsmereldaBarbaraBrenda; our

bones wait to be found; there are always bones. She prays
to the gardens tethered to the field of pink crosses:
Veronica, and the others, EsmereldaBarbaraBrenda, our
roses, wild poppies, fragile blooms of morning glories,

Blind With Hunger For Your Love

Claude Mckay

Poetry must be simple, sensuous or impassioned.

Emma Lazarus

Summer Morn in New Hampshire

Claude McKay – 1889-1948

All yesterday it poured, and all night long
I could not sleep; the rain unceasing beat
Upon the shingled roof like a weird song,
Upon the grass like running children’s feet.
And down the mountains by the dark cloud kissed,
Like a strange shape in filmy veiling dressed,
Slid slowly, silently, the wraith-like mist,
And nestled soft against the earth’s wet breast.
But lo, there was a miracle at dawn!
The still air stirred at touch of the faint breeze,
The sun a sheet of gold bequeathed the lawn,
The songsters twittered in the rustling trees.
And all things were transfigured in the day,
But me whom radiant beauty could not move;
For you, more wonderful, were far away,
And I was blind with hunger for your love.

Long Island Sound

by Emma Lazarus – 1849-1887

I see it as it looked one afternoon
In August,—by a fresh soft breeze o’erblown.
The swiftness of the tide, the light thereon,
A far-off sail, white as a crescent moon.
The shining waters with pale currents strewn,
The quiet fishing-smacks, the Eastern cove,
The semi-circle of its dark, green grove.
The luminous grasses, and the merry sun
In the grave sky; the sparkle far and wide,
Laughter of unseen children, cheerful chirp
Of crickets, and low lisp of rippling tide,
Light summer clouds fantastical as sleep
Changing unnoted while I gazed thereon.
All these fair sounds and sights I made my own.