Friday, January 21, 2005

Open to interpretation

I've always been inspired by "The New Colossus," the famous poem inscribed on the Statue of Liberty. It's a paean to freedom from oppression, the never-ending story of immigrants landing on America's shores in search of a better life through hard work and innovation.

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!"

Actually, no -- it's about being a wealthy, sheltered New Yorker attracted to Marxism. I should have known. Has there ever been a pro-capitalist poet?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nozick wrote a nice essay about why academics and intellectuals have a systematic dislike of capitalism. Worth a look.