Long Island Sound: A Poem for August

Long Island Sound
Emma Lazarus, 1849 – 1887

I see it as it looked one afternoon
In August,—by a fresh soft breeze o’erblown.
The swiftness of the tide, the light thereon,
A far-off sail, white as a crescent moon.
The shining waters with pale currents strewn,
The quiet fishing-smacks, the Eastern cove,
The semi-circle of its dark, green grove.
The luminous grasses, and the merry sun
In the grave sky; the sparkle far and wide,
Laughter of unseen children, cheerful chirp
Of crickets, and low lisp of rippling tide,
Light summer clouds fantastical as sleep
Changing unnoted while I gazed thereon.
All these fair sounds and sights I made my own.

Emma Lazarus was a Jewish American poet, perhaps best known for her poem “A New Colossus,” which is engraved on a plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty. She lived a short life, in which she wrote a great, beautiful body of work, much of it about Jewish identity and history, and about New York, the city in which she was born and lived out her life.

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