Saturday, July 04, 2009

Handle With Care

Original Torch, Statue of Liberty*

—Ai Ch'ing (1910-1996)

A Chilean cigarette pack
bears the portrait of the Statue
of Liberty. Holding her torch on high,
still, she stands in shadow.

As an ad or trademark,
she is allowed her place on the packet.
You can buy the thing for a few cents
and it will go up in smoke...

be thrown to the roadside:
walked and spat upon
in symbol or in fact,
liberty is but a pack of cigarettes.

(translated from the Chinese by Huangling Nieb)


Today's LittleNip:

Liberty: As fragile as the wrapping on a pack of cigarettes. Handle with care...



*Despite repeated efforts, the torch failed as a lighthouse, and the holes allowed water to enter the statue and caused rusting and damage. The original torch is now on display in the museum, and has been replaced with a solid torch covered in gold, which reflects the sunlight and city lights. The new torch accurately achieved the sculptor's vision for the Statue of Liberty.