The statue stands and holds aloft her torch,
the Kalahari moon, the Northern Star.
A lantern glimmers on a Southern porch;
a balefire beacon signals war. These are
unbroken shafts of light connecting lands,
a structure made of beams and pillars, shining;
Across the seas the planks of light expand.
Their longing and our prospects intertwining:
we carry home the children of the flood.
They salve and cure the fever in our blood.

“Build this,” she says, her shadow spans a nation.
We struggle, tire, and yet we carry on,
restored by our eternal reformation.
A land without a king, a place where dawn
reminds us that our freedom needs rebirth:
for liberty to thrive it must be stirred.
We’re all we’ve got, we share a lonely earth.
With newborn hope our future is secured:
undimmed, our flame of justice shines. In Rhodes,
Colossus fell, the gaudy god corrodes.

From out of Egypt, so I called my child;
those blown here by the tempest of the sands.
The still grim pilgrims trudge along, exiled.
We reach to grasp with labor-weathered hands
their hands. Forever leavening our dreams,
they bear the blessings of prosperity.
The immigrants appearing here in streams:
our ancestors and our posterity.
Their tide arrives upon our wave-swept shores.
We sit in darkness if we shut our doors.

 

 

Martin Hill Ortiz is a researcher and professor at the Ponce University of Health Sciences in Ponce, PR where he lives with his wife and son. He has three novels published by small presses: A Predatory Mind (Loose Leaves Publishing, 2013),  Never Kill A Friend, (Ransom Note Press, 2015), and A Predator’s Game (Rook’s Page, 2016). 


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2 Responses

  1. Joseph Charles MacKenzie

    There are many elements of this poem that imitate the style and diction of Emma Lazarus’s immortal sonnet, “The New Colossus.” But in simply reproducing her technique, you have essentially set yourself up for the unavoidable comparison between her 14 lines and your 30. And that is unfortunate, because the reader’s mind can’t help but to admire how she accomplishes three times as much as you do in one third of the space.

    I wish I could say that elements of your poem rescues you from this dilemma, but unfortunately, I can’t. I’m not trying to be mean, just let you know the impressions of a reader in case they might be useful.

    It’s a pretty well worn subject as it is, so I find it daring you tried…

    Reply
  2. C.B. Anderson

    J. C. MacK. might be correct in all the points he made, but I don’t mind at all your expansion of the original theme, and I hope to read something more from you around the Fourth of July.

    Reply

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