Sorry Trump Administration, You Don’t Get To Rewrite Great Poetry

We need our poets.

Whether composed with rhyme or meter, or to music, or if it is just on paper in free verse for someone to interpret through cadence, we need their words.

We need words put together to frame an emotion, an event, a doubt, a success, a life event, or something that never happened. And there are always those voices that say the very feelings or lack of feelings that we experience in such a way that rereading those words allows for the experience to be fully relived or abhorred.

It is very possible that someone else’s words gives you voice.

I’ll go further. The words of a true poet live well beyond the day in which the verses were written. Those poems are timeless. We read them over and over again and their relevance grows. Even when the poet physically leaves this earth those poems still breathe and give us breath.

Maybe one of the greatest gifts that God has bestowed upon us is that there are people in our lives who can say things better than we could ever imagine and we should be grateful for that. Someone took a snapshot of our mental, emotional, psychological, and physical state simultaneously and sent us the picture.

It gives us more time to experience and reflect. It reminds us that we are human.

Today in order to help justify a new immigration policy, Ken Cuccinelli decided to “amend” one of the most iconic poems in the English language: the one that is engraves on the base of the Statue of Liberty.

lazarus.PNG

As reported by CNN.com:

Ken Cuccinelli tweaked the famous poem from Emma Lazarus — whose words, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” are long associated with immigration to the US and the nation’s history as a haven — as part of a case for strict new measures pushed Monday by the Trump administration that could dramatically change the legal immigration system.

The post refers to an interview that Cuccinelli gave to NPR.

He stated:

“They certainly are: ‘Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge,'” he replied. “That plaque was put on the Statue of Liberty at almost the same time as the first public charge was passed — very interesting timing.”

You may as a reader of poetry have different interpretations of a poem or its meaning, but it does not give you the right to rewrite poetry to fit your meaning.

And Lazarus’s poem resonates more today than it ever has.

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