by Rick Brentlinger
(Pace, FL, USA)
"proclaim liberty throughout all the land
unto all the inhabitants thereof"
They left their cherished native land,
Because it was not free;
And sailed across the storm-tossed waves
In search of liberty.
They did not flinch at trials,
Nor shrink from toughest test;
Their hearts and souls were hungry
For a land with freedom blessed.
They thought much of their children,
And counted up the cost;
To heart and mind and conscience
If liberty was lost.
And then at risk of life and all,
Forsaking homeland shores;
Rough immigrants arrived in droves,
To enter freedom's doors.
Their ships sailed through the harbor,
The word spread quickly 'round;
Yet transfixed by the moment,
There wasn't heard a sound.
They thronged as one upon the deck,
Eyes straining now to see;
Through often dark forbidding clouds,
The torch of Liberty.
And sudden, through the dark'ning gloom,
The Lady fair appeared;
Illumined by a shaft of light,
As Ellis Island neared.
O feel the joyful quick'ning pulse,
The racing of each heart;
O see the eyes all misting up
As joyful teardrops start.
See radiant mothers reaching down,
To clutch a childish hand;
And stern-faced fathers smiling now,
They've reached the promised land.
The deck is crowded all across,
Their faces line the rail;
From sheltering 'neath the heaving decks,
All grimed with dirt and pale.
Yet hope shines forth from happy eyes,
Undimmed by trials strong;
The cusp of opportunity
For those who've waited long.
Now see the tired teeming throngs,
All yearning to be free;
Take refuge in the shadow
Of Lady Liberty.
They file past the doctors,
The sick are marked with chalk;
Rejected now, they stand aside
While others point and talk.
A sister sees her brother dear,
The chalk mark on his arm;
And carefully she rubs it off
And now he's safe from harm.
Rejoicing as a family,
Embracing now, they weep;
And kneeling, raise a thankful prayer
For God to guide and keep.
Then rising, with a backward glance,
At pale green statue fair;
Thank God through all their trials,
He heard their urgent prayer.
And still she stands with face sublime,
Against a sunset sky;
Our graceful Lady Liberty
with freedom's lamp held high.
She calls the huddled masses,
All yearning to breathe free;
"Come taste the air of freedom-
I offer liberty."
And now for six score years they've come,
Their hearts with hope aglow;
That they in this brave noble land
May peace and freedom know.
For only those who freedom love,
Can know the rushing thrill;
Of seeing Lady Liberty,
Her torch uplifted still.
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Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor