catsittingstill: (Default)
[personal profile] catsittingstill
First post that isn't connected to LJ. Goodbye LJ. Damn I miss what you used to be.

So I wrote a song year before last when the cowards in this country were freaking out over the prospect of letting in (Muslim) refugees from war-torn countries. I wanted to fight their imaginary terrors and help them back to reality or at least bravery again. It's called The Golden Door and it's about the Statue of Liberty and the idea of the USA as a nation of immigrants, made stronger by the infusions of many cultures over the years.

I don't seem to have posted the lyrics anywhere, which isn't like me, so I'll do it here now.

The Golden Door
lyrics by Catherine Faber and Emma Lazarus
melody by Catherine Faber 2015
youtube video here  (I may have an actual mp3 recording I can post somewhere if people want one.  I'll check later.)

   C                 G           C              F
My parents came from Holland, a better life to find,
Dm                F            G
Full of hope, as many came before.
        C                                     F          
In the flower of their youth they left their families behind
    Dm           F              G 
To make a new together on this shore.
C                            F        G     C
Two among the thousands who sought a wider sky
      G            C             F
Where Liberty has made a welcome here;
     C                             F                  C
She stands in New York Harbor and holds this message high
     F                G                    C
Its meaning somewhat tarnished, but still clear:

              C               F
Give me your tired      your poor
      Dm             F                   G
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
     C                               Em
The wretched refuse of your teaming shore
      Dm                 Em               F
Send these the homeless tempest tossed to me
   Dm              F              G
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Some came here for adventure, and some to look for gold
And some in chains, with all that that entails.
From all our imperfections, a nation did unfold, 
For home is where the heart at last prevails.
Words in every language, skin of every hue
Where these got slender welcome, that's our shame,
For folk of every country gave Liberty her due
Each brought their dish to potluck as they came

America is mighty, too strong to yield to fear
We don't bend beneath some bloodstained thumb.   
People fleeing carnage should find safe harbor here
Their children strengthen what we will become.
Let voice on voice be lifted in welcome and in song
Immigrants have built this country's crown.
We still proclaim the message that stood so high so long.
Nor will Liberty's proud tablet tumble down.


Anyway, this turned out to be quite popular (for "for me" values of "quite popular") even with some of the people in this area--weirdly enough since most of them were Trump voters. (I actually have a mental model for how this might work but let's not go there right now; I'm not at my best today and perhaps I am being unfair.)

I have been asked for it a couple of times since the election and have mostly been able to gget out of singing it. It is particularly heartbreaking when somone I know damn well voted Trump asks for it. Like, didn't they fucking LISTEN to it?

Last night I got asked for it again. The person who did it wasn't a Trump voter. They are just as dismayed by him as I am. They meant well. So I tried to sing it. I mean, I *did* sing it, which is kind of impressive, since I began leaking tears by the second line and shut my eyes and played without the music, leaking tears through the whole thing and still managed to actually sing, which suggests my vocal control is better than I thought and also I have that song pretty well memorized, both the lyrics and the countermelody, so all the work I put in on it paid off.

Which is a huge fucking pity because I'm not going to sing it again. It's not true. It turns out it never was true. And I had to stop here and blow my nose I a couple of times and I can barely see what I am typing.

It's not fucking true and I am not going to stand here and sing bullshit anymore so that Trump voters can pretend that everything is okay and they didn't smash something important and precious.

So here are the new words.

A Statue’s Resignation
Lyrics and melody by Cat Faber 2016
(TTO The Golden Door by Cat Faber)

By the bitter water I stand upon the shore
Beside a shining city sprung from clay
I’m cold inside, and hollow, and now I feel it more
For never was that fitter than today.
A majority they weren’t, but now their will is shown:
They cast me off. No longer on their side
I stand in New York Harbor, abandoned and alone
A symbol of a shining dream that died.

For I am tired, heartsore.
Though huddled masses crowd around my knee
They are no longer welcome on this shore
Where fear and hate now govern what will be,
Douse my lamp, and bar the golden door.

I’m just an empty symbol—my people made it true,
As far as we were ever truly great.
By work and strife and struggle, a better life they grew
And won their place, but now rise those who hate
Anyone who’s different, preferring to believe
They aren’t human, or they don’t belong,
And don’t deserve equality—t’would make a statue grieve
You’d think that they had never heard my song

Now I am tired, heartsore.
Though huddled masses crowd around my knee
They are no longer welcome on this shore
Where fear and hate now govern what will be,
Douse my lamp, and bar the golden door.

You think me whining loser—a useless copper scold--
Well, prove me wrong; the chance is yours to seize.
Give welcome to the stranger; I hear that you were told
To shelter and protect the least of these,
Till everyone is safe here to love, and work, and dream,
Shaded by their fig tree’s tender stem.
That’s not a thing accomplished by a small resentful scheme
To take your country “back”--away--from them.

But I am tired, heartsore.
Though huddled masses crowd around my knee
They are no longer welcome on this shore
Where fear and hate now govern what will be,
Douse my lamp, and bar the golden door.
I will not be your symbol anymore.

Date: 2017-01-01 05:24 pm (UTC)
mdlbear: (flamethrower)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
*hugs*

That's incredibly powerful. And heartbreaking.

Date: 2017-01-02 03:02 am (UTC)
mdlbear: Liberty with face buried in her palms, weeping. (liberty-weeping)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
I know the feeling. Have an icon; it seems appropriate.

Finally got around to making it this evening. It's from a painting by Gee Vaucher.

Date: 2017-01-03 05:23 am (UTC)
mdlbear: (liberty-bleeding)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
Feel free to copy it; I have a feeling it will see quite a bit of use in the next few years.

This one, too.

Date: 2017-01-01 05:51 pm (UTC)
ng_moonmoth: The Moon-Moth (Default)
From: [personal profile] ng_moonmoth
May the wheel turn again -- and those who were swayed by fear, hatred and division to sell their nation's birthright for a mess of what will turn out to be disgusting, inedible pottage come to realize the cost of their choice. Then, you may be able to sing your original song once again.

Meanwhile, some of us may find within ourselves the strength and power to lift our own lamps, and open our own doors in welcome, for those beset by authority and the people exploiting authority for their personal gain. When all else has fled, hope remains.

Date: 2017-01-01 06:12 pm (UTC)
gingicat: drawing of me based on wedding photo (Default)
From: [personal profile] gingicat
Oh hon.

Date: 2017-01-02 01:19 am (UTC)
minoanmiss: (Minoan Woman by Ileliberte)
From: [personal profile] minoanmiss
Thank you, for both of these songs.
Thank you.

Date: 2017-01-02 12:56 pm (UTC)
kjn: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kjn
I'm sad to hear that, because The Golden Door is beautiful and it is as true as equality or liberty - and the only way to make them true is to continue to believe in and work for them. Your new text might be more true now, but I don't believe it is able to change things to the better. But I can certainly understand the need to write it, and am glad that you can spread your words.

Here is a song by one of my favourite songwriters which I believe fits the mood perfectly: Waar Ga Ja Heen? by Cornelis Vreeswijk.

Date: 2017-01-02 05:07 pm (UTC)
kjn: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kjn
My Dutch is, sad to say, practically non-existent (though I can muddle through a bit using my mostly forgotten German and some Swedish cognates). This is one of the Swedish songs that Cornelis Vreeswijk made a version in Dutch of (he came from the Netherlands, but IIRC moved to Sweden with his father as a child).

The Swedish lyrics are different and have another message, but it's still a powerful and sad song. I'm not sure if he ever really translated his own songs from Swedish to Dutch, more writing a new text around the same themes or images, in this case walking with broken shoes.

The Bellman translations he made to Dutch are top-notch, however, at least as far as I can tell.

Date: 2017-01-04 03:37 pm (UTC)
kjn: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kjn
No problem, I could muddle through, and mostly found it amusing.

I can understand you having trouble with Cornelis's Dutch - apparently his Dutch ended up with a Swedish accent, and when he sang Epistle 81 in Dutch translation live at a Swedish show he quipped afterwards that the Dutch didn't understand anything either.

Or he was just self-effacing.

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