The Power of a Poem

There is much to reflect on in this famous poem, engraved on the Statue of Liberty’s base. What a sober reminder of what once made America great. And what a stark contrast it sets up when one reflects on the aspirations of the new president of the United States.

I hope the words of this poem resonate within you as strongly as they do in me.
New Colossus
(Engraved on the Statue of Liberty.)
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-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

About Kathryn Perry

Kathryn Perry, MDiv, is an alumna of Regis College, Toronto. She is the author of The Courage To Dare: The Spirituality of Catherine Donnelly, Founder of the Sisters of Service (Novalis 2013).
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2 Responses to The Power of a Poem

  1. Adua Zampese says:

    Kathy, I just read this poem and it brought tears to my eyes; I had never read it before. What a contrast in did, to new president, I heard the news this morning, could hardly believe what I was hearing.

    Thank you, Kathy!!!

    I have been thinking of you a lot lately, will call you soon. Also, I am forwarding you an article regarding the US politics at present, which, I think, you might like to read.

    Love and thanks,


  2. I love how the poem begins saying what America’s welcoming image is NOT: “a brazen giant of Greek fame with conquering limbs astride from land to land.”
    Let’s hope Americans can be confronted by their own history and moved to act!
    Carlos Ruiz Zafon, a Spanish novelist, said, “I’ve always thought we are what we remember, and the less we remember, the less we are.” Wise words.

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