The New Colossus Poem by Emma Lazarus

The New Colossus

Rating: 3.4

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-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"


OR: the wretches refused from distant shores. I know it's a very famous poem written by an elite, wealthy person who lived at a time when many starving people from Europe immigrated to the US.I think the original line reflects a certain snobby attitude towards those very poor people even though the poet's intentions may have been veiled and her words cloaked with pity for the unfortunate.

13 28 Reply

I would have written 'wretched refused from your teeming shores'. For some reason the term euro-trash was coined from a very simple mistake that could have been easily corrected.The slur may not have been used in Emma's day but people do like to twist things around and take advantage.I'm the oldest daughter of parents who immigrated to the US after WW2 ended became naturalise, lawabiding, tax paying and hardworking moral citizens and someone used that derogatory terminology towards them and any immigrant who have chosen to reached these shores and settle here in our great country.I was born in New York techniclly it makes me a native just like all US citizens of any ancestry of whom respect should be shown. I will give this poem a ten but I just feel that it would have given fairer treatment and dignity to all immigrants if it had been worded slightly differently.

11 27 Reply
Chinedu Dike 05 November 2019

A masterful piece of poetry beautifully conceived and elegantly brought forth with artistic brilliance.

1 0 Reply
Sally Plumb Plumb 23 July 2017


1 0 Reply
Savita Tyagi 05 February 2017

A new sign in front of Liberty of Statue New Colossus closed for restoration Can not accept the tired and desolate Hungry and homeless beaten by fate Date of opening to be announced soon!

4 0 Reply
Michael Ryland 13 September 2015

This used to be what America stood for. No longer. Tragic. And, the wording is perfect.

11 7 Reply
Siddartha Montik 12 November 2016

So True..!

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Chinedu Dike 01 February 2015

A beautiful piece on the Statue Of Liberty - The Symbol of US Freedom. A lovely piece of poetry, penned with insight.

9 6 Reply
Emma Lazarus

Emma Lazarus

New York City / United States
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