Reading the Latest Immigration News

“Ellis Island”

I was driving down Ninth Avenue
As the sky was getting dark
Didn’t have nothin’ else to do
So I kept on riding to Battery Park
I stepped out in the damp and misty night
As the fog was rolling in
Man said, “Last boat leaving tonight
Is the boat for Ellis Island”

As my feet touched solid ground
I felt a chill run down my spine
I could almost hear the sound
of thousands pushing through the lines
Mothers and bewildered wives
that sailed across the raging sea
Others running for their lives
to the land of opportunity
Down on Ellis Island

“What is this strange paradise?”
They must’ve wondered through their cries and moans
After all they’ve sacrificed
Their faith, their families, friends and homes
Then on the Inspection Stairs
They were counted out or counted in
Frozen while the inspectors stared
Down on Ellis Island

Now me I only stumbled in
Just to wander around that empty hall
Where someone else’s fate had been
Decided in no time at all
And cases filled with hats and clothes
And the belongings of those who journeyed far
They’re strange reminders I suppose
Of where we’re from and who we are

But as the boat pulled off the shore
I could see the fog was lifting
And lights I never seen before
Were shining down on Ellis Island
Shining down on Ellis Island

4 thoughts on “Reading the Latest Immigration News”

  1. I’m a little confused, Loren. The last stanza: Are the lights he’s referring to the lights of New York? That would make sense to me.

    1. Looking at pictures of Ellis Island and never having been there, I’m not sure where the lights would be coming from, Paul, though I’m pretty sure Cohn is suggesting a “spiritual” light as well as literal light in that stanza.

      Glad to see you’re back to blogging. Wonder why my RSS reader didn’t automatically pick that up.

      1. Thanks so much for the insight into Cohn’s song, Loren! I can see what you mean now when I re-read it. That adds some pleasing richness to it.

        Also, thanks for the welcome back to blogging! I’m not sure what’s happening with the RSS, nor how to fix any problems with it. The subscriber emails are going through, though.

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