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Songs | Spring 2016

I Lift My Lamp

Ted writes: “Come wintertime and the promise of a new year and new possibilities, I tend to gather songs of light and convene people in the community to sing them. Several years back, on the way to one of these exciting sessions, it occurred to me that the famous words on the Statue of Liberty were strong enough to support a new singable setting, not that anyone wants to put down Irving Berlin.  

“As the room filled with sound, joyously and powerfully on first try, it was hard to end the song. I went home and tried to complicate it a bit in several ways. You can too, or simplify it by leaving out the ‘huddled masses’ line. Artistic license?  

“The words are from ‘The New Colossus,’ a poem by Emma Lazarus. This nineteenth-century Sephardic Jewish poet had deep American roots stretching back before the revolution. She never lived to see her words, engraved on the statue’s base, become so well known, loved, and iconic. 

“This song reminds me that I have a light to shine, a lamp to lift. It speaks for itself. I see some folks heading our way…”

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