A reflection on “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus
I thought I was
a lighthouse. I
raised my hand for the job.
I thought myself a
beacon of refuge at the
door of dreams. Shining
I turned away
no one. It was not mine to
give, this air of
freedom; it was only mine
no longer alight
with idealism, would
that I could
set down my lamp
and my words
both hands free,
gather my own.
“Voyager: Humanity’s Farthest Journey” NASA, edited by Jaybear, 2011. (Public Domain)
Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.
David Whyte from Everything is Waiting for You
©2003 Many Rivers Press
Shout Out UK – How Do You Describe a Bird
Thank you very much to Shout Out UK for publishing my poem!