Open Gate

They come,

A throng of weary pilgrims

Pitiful in their deformities of limb and soul:

Children with eyes empty of laughter;

Youth burdened with the weight of dead dreams,

Their eyes great, dark, haunted pools

Where moonlight never dances;

The elder ones feel only the tide receding,

Tasting the bitter wine of frosted fruit.

Standing in awe

Before the welcoming Goddess,

Their eyes--but burned out embers--

Relight with flickering sparks of faith.

Rusted lips, long divorced from smiling,

Yield to the lubricant of hope.

Bone-lean fingers caress gaunt throats

That too long have felt the choking leash of fear.

Yearningly they come to the portals of Eden--

Looking beyond they see

The green acres of democracy,

The lilied fields of peace ...

The Goddess smiles.

Her arm uplifted in blessing,

She hears the prelude to their song

Whose melody will swell into a triumphant chord

As, laboring in her fields, her shops and temples,

They will know the joy of which they dreamed,

The peace they thought to find only in Heaven.

With bowed heads, reverently they enter

The open gate, the gate of America.