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Emma Lazarus

(22 July 1849 – 19 November 1887 / New York City / United States)

The Cranes of Ibicus


Here was a man who watched the river flow
Past the huge town, one gray November day.
Round him in narrow high-piled streets at play
The boys made merry as they saw him go,
Murmuring half-loud, with eyes upon the stream,
The immortal screed he held within his hand.
For he was walking in an April land
With Faust and Helen. Shadowy as a dream
Was the prose-world, the river and the town.
Wild joy possessed him; through enchanted skies
He saw the cranes of Ibycus swoop down.
He closed the page, he lifted up his eyes,
Lo--a black line of birds in wavering thread
Bore him the greetings of the deathless dead!

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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