Saturday, July 3, 2010

Star Spangled

for William & Thomas

Coffin Flags

I keep two neatly folded flags
within a bedroom window seat
among outgrown children's clothes, cedar, and woollens
things seasonal, seasonally forgotten.

On the Glorious Fourth they unfold
along with distant pain and loss
that a younger sister shouldered inside her silence
then left with me to be remembered.

I keep two neatly folded brothers:
The Korean statistic lost above the 38th parallell,
A patriot eternally deployed
While his WWII brother waits in Elmwood.

I keep two neatly folded soldiers
whose stars stare bravely back at me
and see a wife not theirs
and see my sons, not theirs
and see their future cruelly stolen.

And in their stars I see the gentle heroes
who make Independence Day bittersweet
and free the heart from any doubt
of why we celebrate liberty and love of country.

I keep two neatly folded souls
and remember.

Click HERE for details on William & Thomas


Rowan said...

A poignant post - among the celebrating it's good that you remember those family members who gave their lives to maintain that Independence. Happy 4th July.

Cait O'Connor said...

I love the poem.
I love you header pic too, a gorgeous cottage garden.
Am off to catch up on your earlier posts. I have only just realised by reading your previous one that Diana and my late father share the same birthday.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

What a nice memorial to William and Thomas.... God Bless those who gave their lives for OUR freedom...

Have a wonderful 4th.

Derrick said...

Beautifully written, FireLight. They deserve to be remembered. The pity is that we so quickly forget the lesson we were supposed to learn from their sacrifice.

FireLight said...

Rowan, we initially brought these flags out on July 4th when our little neighborhood celebrated in a particular back yard. We would put up a long rope line and hang all American and other assorted flags we could gather from each household. These two served as the bookends for as many as ten or twelve flags. We even had a Union Jack, (correctly displayed) added when we had an exchange student from Oxford who became a third son to us. He made sure we did not turn it the wrong way! We had POW flags, Confederate Flags, 48 (our two), 49, & 50 star flags!

Cait, so good to see you here. Whenever I am longing to be in England, I just imagine walking right back into this garden. The Colonel took the photo in 2006.

Betsy, freedom, indeed is not, free.

Derrick, as it is more and more evident that you are quite a gifted poet, your praise is much valued here. I first wrote this in 1991 when I did not quite have all the details, so I have edited - even shortened it - and I like it better than the first. Alas, as long as mankind is around, there will be war.

Suz said...


About Me

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Recreational scholar, former high school and junior college English teacher. Animal lover (especially horses, dogs, and people), live in the South, sometimes poet and essayist... "Ireland, Scotland, Britain, and Wales...I can hear those ancient voices calling..." Van Morrison from Celtic Heartbeat