Friday, July 17, 2009
Emma Lazarus 1849 - 1887
One of the first successful Jewish American authors, Lazarus was part of the late nineteenth century New York literary elite, and was celebrated in her day as an important American poet. In her later years, she wrote bold, powerful poetry and essays protesting the rise of anti-Semitism and arguing for Russian immigrants' rights. She called on Jews to unite and create a homeland in Palestine before the title Zionist had even been coined. As a Jewish American woman,
Long Island Sound
I see it as it looked one afternoon
In August,-by a fresh soft breeze o'erblown.
The swiftness of the tide, the light thereon,
A far-off sail, white as a crescent moon.
The shining waters with pale currents strewn,
The quiet fishing-smacks, the Eastern cove,
The semi-circle of its dark, green grove.
The luminous grasses, and the merry sun
In the grave sky; the sparkle far and wide,
Laughter of unseen children, cheerful chirp
Of crickets, and low lisp of rippling tide,
Light summer clouds fantastical as sleep
Changing unnoted while I gazed thereon.
All these fair sounds and sights I made my own.