Monday, November 14, 2016

Beside the Golden Door

I had not been afraid of the dark for a long time now.
My father was once scrambling eggs in bacon grease;
life was not for the faint. Everything becomes ashes.
It's not a real job unless you get your hands dirty . . .

This all started back during the recession in Canada,
a time something like the Great Depression.
People could not even afford to feed their children
and they would send them to school hungry.
Drive until you can drive no more . . .

To even turn away a glass of milk
was considered ungrateful.
You said thank you to God at every meal.
Your eyes are wide open.
You can't do this job and be soft . . .

Rival, you stopped telling fairy tales for once
and admitted you were short on dimes
that is why you stand in the street.
You are singing, though, a song in time gone by.
Stand, until your bones ache with exhaustion . . .
Brother, can you spare a dime?

Emily Isaacson

"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."

Emma Lazarus, 1883