Verse > Anthologies > Hamilton Fish Armstrong, ed. > The Book of New York Verse
Hamilton Fish Armstrong, ed.  The Book of New York Verse.  1917.
At Ellis Island
By Margaret Chanler Aldrich
ACROSS the land their long lines pass;
  More souls come to us sun by sun,
Each ship a city as she rides,
  Than manned the march of Washington.
From ancient states where burthens lie        5
  Extortionate upon the poor,
Men rise like flocks from leafless woods,
  Then flight a shadow at our door.
A shadow passing life by life
  Into the morrow of our race;        10
What know we of the unseen minds?
  These hands have riches we embrace.
What common thought so many moves?
  Our laws with Liberty are brave;
Beneath them men will take content        15
  A wage, a lodging, and a grave.
Strange to each other as to us,
  The races of the world are ours;
No sleepless frontiers here impede
  A secret ballot’s sacred powers.        20
Ye patient aliens! Sifting in
  Where trades a fateful welcome burn,
Bequeath your children what you find—
  A land to which all peoples turn.

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