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A Lamp Unto Thy Tweet

for soprano, bass, mandola, viola, cello, and piano

Text by Cynthia Fogg

premiered September 10, 2017
Bridges Hall, Claremont, California


A Lamp Unto Thy Tweet is an imagined encounter between the Statue of Liberty and the 2018 occupant of the White House. The piece was inspired by “The New Colossus,” a poem written in 1903 by Emma Lazarus to help raise money for the construction of the Statue’s pedestal. The music transports the poem to 2018, where the welcoming sentiments expressed by the spirit of Lazarus’ poem are juxtaposed with words from the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The Washington- based words are recognizable to anyone following the news. They are presented mostly as originally spoken and gently assembled into rhymes by Cynthia Fogg.

Psalm 119:105 King James Version is relevant: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” We like to think that the generosity of Lazarus’ poem might lead us to a better place.

 

 

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

Part of the beauty of me is that I’m very rich.
But all that is nothing (it’s only a start)
I’ve got the best brain and I’m very smart

Not!
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

For each shining golf course and stunning resort
China-made MAGA hats at every port
For every hotel I’ve instituted
I deserve the Nobel...it’s undisputed.

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates . . .

I’d rather be in Mar-A-Lago
Far from crime-infested Chicago!

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman . . .

Nobody respects women like I do!

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame . . .

speaking of wildfires – California! –
who came up with the stupid notion
of diverting all that water into the ocean?

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name . . .

Crooked Hillary used email artillery
Pocahontas continues to taunt us
Crazy Maxine Waters, the most corrupt,
used her low IQ to obstruct

For High Crime Pelosi things are not so rosy.
She’s past her prime
See? No one’s more respectful of women than I’m!

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name MOTHER OF EXILES.

Build the wall!
Get them out!
Bring them back
From where they came!

From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome;
world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she

So what’s so wrong with a little storied pomp?

The parade is my reward for draining the swamp!

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

The war on poverty is over!

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

Children in cages? Not my fault!

I’m the one who’s under assault!

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Build the wall!
Get them out!
Bring them back
From where they came!

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

Don’t you tell me the earth’s too warm!

It snowed last winter. Ain’t that the norm?

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!"

 

– Emma Lazarus

 

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