March 17, 2007

Émigrée (lyric)

Farewell, from a distance
of two decades or so.
Though I cannot see you,
I cry farewell to you,

to you, land of a thousand
chances or more,
that, taken together,
have carried and brought me here,

to a place you'd only heard whispers of.

Oh, the streets here,
they aren't paved with gold.
But the sidewalks,
they do shine in the rain.

And, sometimes, when I stand there,
hearing this city's song,
I think I hear you sing the refrain. And

with a strange intonation,
in the accents of ghosts,
in the uncertain tones of
the dispossessed and the lost,

I think I hear you whisper my name.

Sometimes, when I stand
under New York's neon skies,
I remember your skies too. And your grasses, so green,
so tall they reached my head,
and wildflowers, bright, tightly clutched
in my hand. I remember,
you see, I remember.

So farewell, from a distance
measured in passport stamps,
farewell from a distant
foreign citizen,

who'd once been a child on a fast-moving train,
with a wonderstruck face glued to a fogged windowpane,
and it never occurred to her to whisper, then

"Farewell, farewell
my country."

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