Emma Lazarus

22 July 1849 – 19 November 1887 / New York City / United States

Off Rough Point

We sat at twilight nigh the sea,
The fog hung gray and weird.
Through the thick film uncannily
The broken moon appeared.

We heard the billows crack and plunge,
We saw nor waves nor ships.
Earth sucked the vapors like a sponge,
The salt spray wet our lips.

Closer the woof of white mist drew,
Before, behind, beside.
How could that phantom moon break through,
Above that shrouded tide?

The roaring waters filled the ear,
A white blank foiled the sight.
Close-gathering shadows near, more near,
Brought the blind, awful night.

O friends who passed unseen, unknown!
O dashing, troubled sea!
Still stand we on a rock alone,
Walled round by mystery.
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