A Gypsy in New York
by Juliette de Bairacli Levy
Pre-publication preview courtesy of Ash Tree Publishing
Chapter 1.3, continued from last month…
The waterfront of New York, stretching as far as one’s eyes can see ahead, seems enormous, and there are, indeed, about seven hundred miles of it. Many nostalgic seamen’s songs have been written about it. It faces numerous small islands, the most famous and romantic of these islands being that of the Liberty statue. All ships’ passengers approaching New York keep a lookout for the towering Statue of Liberty, the splendid woman of copper, standing on the small, water-splashed piece of land in New York harbor. Sea mists and salty winds blown inland from the Atlantic have greyed and greened the copper figure and made her more beautiful: she is a perching place for seagulls and other sea birds, and sometimes, oh! Wonderful! Wild geese.
Although she is of Amazon type and her face is stern, for she must protect her torch of Liberty from being blown out by any oppressing forces, the words inscribed at her feet are tender enough. I knew that they had been composed for the statue by a young Jewess, Emma Lazarus. My father, when I was a girl, had once given me a small volume of Emma Lazarus’s poems. I had been impressed then by the promise of the Golden Door, only long ago I have ceased to look for Golden Doors into anywhere, for I have come to believe that life is really more fun on the other side, among the ragged Bohemians. I wanted to know the complete words of the inscribed verse on the statue of Liberty as our ship sailed past. I wanted to tell them to my children as they stood at my side marveling at New York harbor. Therefore it was strange to me that of the twelve Americans around me on the ship whom I asked, and one a schoolmistress, and most of them New Yorkers, not one of them could tell me the words! Here they are, beautiful in their promise to all homeless wanderers:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
The immense statue was presented by France to America, in admiration and friendship. A symbolic statue, of the liberty and freedom enjoyed by all citizens of America under a free government, elected freely by the people for the people. A symbol of Liberty enlightening the world. Now the people of America are going to present a statue of Liberty to Israel. The campaign to raise two million dollars for this has been started by three senators. Israel was often the only hope for the refugees fleeing in throngs from the death camps of the Nazis. Those hideous, horrific, beyond-words-to-tell concentration camps!
Only I am sorry that nowadays, for “the wretched” (human) “refuse of your teeming shore,” America has become one of the most difficult countries in the world to enter, only outbidden in this respect by perhaps Afghanistan or Tibet! The official question-forms to be completed, and the guarantees to be made, would baffle most modern wandering Gypsies wishing to enter as immigrants. My children and I came only as visitors to America, and that had been difficult enough. Then, on arrival, there was talk of Ellis Island detention because of my absolute refusal to have my children and dog vaccinated. As an herbalist I keep my children and animals, dogs and goats, all safe and healthy on the medicine promised in the Bible: the herbs and the grasses. I fear no disease, and so far, with the exception of my typhus trouble years ago in Spain, when I again used herbs to cure this, I have not had to pay out one cent to any doctor other than for an occasionally needed certificate of good health as we travel from country to country. Herbal medicine was also once American medicine, part of the lore of those Indians who had occupied the New York State region before the coming of the Dutch; the peaceful Algonquins and the wild and fierce Iroquois, farmers, hunters, and fishermen, and among the largest and most powerful of the North American Indian groups.
To be continued…
by Juliette de Bairacli Levy
Author of Common Herbs for Natural Health
In this richly detailed memoir, Juliette de Bairacli Levy – one of the founders of American herbalism – offers us a rare documentary. It is at once an herbal, a travel book and a compendium of Gypsy lore and Gypsy ways. 210 pages,
This collection includes three great herbal medicine books and one video by Juliette de Bairacli Levy, well-known as the "grandmother of herbal medicine."
Nature's Children is a classic book on natural childrearing; it includes remedies, recipes, and fascinating lore.
Traveler's Joy is a unique guide to finding the wild bounty in simple living; Juliette covers topics such as travel, water, dwellings, medicine, and food.
Common Herbs for Natural Health is an essential herbal with lore and uses for 200 herbs including cosmetic, culinary, and medical recipes.
Juliette of the Herbs, the exceptional video included in this collection will delight, entrance, and inspire!
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