EYES OF THE IMMIGRANT
They came by day, and they came by night.
They came like cattle they were packed so tight.
They rolled on the stairways and they slept on the decks.
And the only thing they knew was they could not turn back.
They came from Sweden and they came from France.
They came from up and down along the continent.
They came in floods and they came in waves.
They came for glory and they came to escape.
Some held their breath in the morning light.
As New York Harbor came into sight.
They leaned on the rails and the decks just to see.
A statue of a lady known as "Liberty."
Their hands gripped the rails and their eyes peered up.
Some were crying with their eyes; some were crying with their hearts.
They were dreaming of the future; they were crying for a chance.
Maybe the son of a shipper could even be the president.
Eyes of the healthy and eyes of the lame
Eyes of the free and the eyes of the chain
Eyes of the wealthy and eyes of the poor
Eyes of an Indian who rides nevermore
Always remember and never forget
Beneath all the dirt and beneath all the sweat
Who looked to the future and knew what it meant
But the hearts and the minds and the souls and the dreams
In the eyes, eyes of the Immigrant
Out of Ellis Island they poured like sheep
Onto the land and into the streets.
With their hands on their children and their coats on their backs
They brought nothing more than they could fit in their sacks.
Carpenters, steel workers, firemen, and cops
Peddled rags full of shoes in all the neighborhood shops.
They worked with their hands and they worked with their backs
Bringin' coal from the ground and puttin' smoke up the stacks.
Wave after wave the flood never stopped.
Soon the ones on the bottom they rose to the top.
They dreamed and they said no matter how its gotten bad,
You give to your kids the things that you never had.
Be doctors and lawyers and chairmen of the boards.
Be the guardians of peace and protectors in the wars.
You work with your knowledge and your skills and your minds.
Now its everybody's future that you hold in your sights.
Some tried to settle, some couldn't out of fear.
Some kept dreaming of the new frontier.
Everybody was convinced they had a place in the sun,
That it wasn't what you were so much as what you could become.
Everybody's future wasn't everybody's dream;
The land could be barren and the streets could be mean.
It was a fact in the suburbs and the farms and the shacks
That you only knew ahead there ain't no room to fall back.
This is the land and the home of the free.
That's what we want the whole world to believe.
Not everybody makes it to the top of the heap:
Some were brought in chains from far across the sea;
Some lost their way and some lost track;
And some realized that you can't look back.
And sometimes you hear it but you don't know where
The sound of the waves still crashing in your ear.
Of the immigrant.