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Immigrants Still

IMMIGRANTS STILL

CONCORA (Hartford, Connecticut)
Richard Coffey, conductor

from On Freedom’s Ground
by Richard Wilbur, Poet Laureate of the United States

V. Immigrants Still

Still, in the same great bay,
Now edged with towers and with piers,
Where for a hundred years
Our lady has been holding sway,

The risen tide comes flooding as before
To ramble north a hundred miles or more,
And the same sea-birds rise, though now they wheel
Above the crossing wakes of barge and keel.

These waters and these wings,
Whatever once they seemed, now wear
A bright, cavorting air,
And have the look of ransomed things:

To our free eyes the gulls go weaving now
Loose wreaths of flight about our lady’s brow,
And toward her feet the motions of the sea
Leap up like hearts that hasten to be free.

Not that the graves of our dead are quiet,
Nor justice done, nor our journey over.
We are immigrants still, who travel in time,
Bound where the thought of America beckons;
But we hold our course, and the wind is with us.

Copyright Richard Wilbur; used by permission