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Over the bright and briny waves
the white-capped fists of salty green
slapping harsh, cruel pushing the ship
wrenching the coffee, potatoes up,
just fifteen she came.

So scared
stomach churning like the ocean below oh why couldn't
they bring mama
why not the old copper pans the blanket the raindrops on the tin roof
the rich spicy smell and emerald grass and cows
and simple joyful sounds of home

But still they told her take the baby
take your brother and leave this place,
take the money, the cradle and go
to the land across the ocean.
We may be poor, starving
but that lady proud, the tall
majestic woman with robe and torch
will give you a better life

She cried, the girl,
oh great bitter stinging sobs,
but she took up the baby
knew the grit, the wisdom of her mother, mounted the
hulking frightening ship,
oh nothing like home
where are the sheep the kettles
the baby wails oh mother
she cries I can't mother I can't
help me help your daughter, please

and she calls back from the green shore
YOU MUST nydia child, you must go
lady liberty will protect you always

nydia whispers back a goodbye
clutches the baby to her chest,
tears soaking his soft downy hair
as she begins to leave
and her mother throws back her head
waves, eyes glistening,
and in a strong proud voice
begins to sing,
sing a fierce sweet rough tune of
jow, of sorrow, love

Three weeks she spends upon the sea,
green with nausea, exhausted, hungry,
but she remembers the
parting words, the song
and again is strong.

Finally,
a crisp morning the sun
rises in a glorious burst of fire
and there, on the horizon, she sees
the lady proud
and her heart aches from the sad beautiful hope
for lady liberty will protect her always

Steps onto the blessed solid land,
tears flowing, sets the bright faded cradle on the sidewalk,
cups a hand to her ear and
listens.

She can hear her mother singing
across the sea.





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