THE OPEN DOOR
They come, with nothing but the clothes on their backs,
to cross a mighty ocean or a muddy river,
A vision of hope before them so compelling in its virtue
that it is possible to risk life for it.
They come, with children, and wives, and mothers hanging on their necks,
burdened with responsibility, laden down as palpably
as if those others were actually there in flesh,
yet not needing them to be there,
For their pain and their poverty is always there, it never leaves.
Across the dusty desert plain they come
and are turned back, or shot back, or mocked back,
And yet they continue to come like the relentless tide which surges forward
that the sand cannot stop,
nor the wind, nor the will of man.
This tide, fueled by hope, fueled by the promise of America,
by the land of opportunity, the land of redemption,
by the promise of a new beginning,
Rolls into shore in wave after wave
of small rubber crafts that breach the open water,
In wave after wave of parched throats and dead bodies
left in the sun to dry and to die from exposure,
In wave after wave of hearts willing to risk it all on one throw of the dice- Will I make it? Will I die? Will I be turned back?
Only to set foot in the precious land,
Only to find a bed to sleep on, some work to do to pay for food,
Only to find a moment's rest amidst the grueling days and nights
Oh, America, you call your beloveds to you with dreams of the possible,
Then send them away with the knowledge that it was just a dream,
only a little dream - the thought of a child,
not very real at all, no, not very real.
You call to you the homeless, the destitute, the needy,
the impoverished, the persecuted, the despairing,
the lonely, the hopeful,
But do not recognize that the call goes out
even as your fences grow higher, and your borders become thicker,
and your memory of what it was all about grows dimmer.
Oh, America, land of opportunity, open door to the hearts of mankind,
Nourisher of the spirit,
Your call is being answered, your hope is being returned,
your voice is being echoed by the waves of strangers
who embrace your shores,
who kiss the ground they find beneath their dirty and blistered feet -
This ground lifts them up beyond their shame, beyond their poverty,
beyond their transgressions,
Beyond every imaginable limitation of heart and soul
To a place that is higher in which hope is reborn.
* * *
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