Friday, May 31, 2013

520 : That Wretched Cloth.

Three Word Wednesday requires participants
to use the three words of the week in a composition.
The words this week were badge, liability and darken.

That Wretched Cloth

The drive to bear the nation’s flag
On car and towel and lawn
Displays the type of ignorance
From which distrust is born.

It is a liability
To wave that wretched cloth;
Where rational thought’s concerned
It leads to mental sloth.

It darkens the national heart
To a shadow of deep fear,
A shallow tribal barrier
To hide behind and jeer.

But emblems are all external,
And foolishly applied:
We share a common humanity—
A badge that’s worn inside.

© J Cosmo Newbery 2013

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  1. Someone across the road from me still has their Christmas decorations up on the balcony...I think I will report them to politically correct police!

    1. For inciting religious hatred and discrimination by upsetting the atheists and non Christian community.
      I have an old beach towel with a flag on it somewhere. Must burn it along with my copy of the Satanic Verses . It could have me arrested!

    2. No not really..just drawing attention to the deranged extremism of the politically correct faddist.

    3. Someone who is too lazy to take down their Xmas decorations (they'll be back up in the shops soon) is a "politically correct faddist"? How does that work?

    4. ?'s called innuendo, subtlety...never mind...we are not on the same page!

  2. Bearing the nation's flag on car and towel and lawn is one thing, but at least they can be changed. The trend to have flags and national symbols as a tattoo worries me more. Recently I read that the cars/homes which display the flag are most likely to be owned by people with strongly racist attitudes. Sad, and unsurprising.
    A brilliant piece - thank you.

  3. I am being of a higher caste to you and am taking offense that you are being presumptuously familiar with my lineage, isn't it?

    1. Well, I hadn't had you in mind at the time, I confess, but in theory yes.

  4. Oh, yes, patriotism only separates us. It leads to extremism, as you say brilliantly.

  5. All this talk of towels and t-shirts has me thinking of the beach and a cool glass of Pinot grigio...
    but in all seriousness, the last line was my favorite,
    "A badge that’s worn inside"

    Lovely, my dear Mr. Newbery.

  6. Emblems are all external...
    I think that someone who has to advertise their belief, whatever it may be, and sing it from the rooftops, is probably more concerned with others knowing they hold that belief then them actually holding it.

  7. enjoyed. wish i had the confidence to explore politics more often in my own work.

  8. Yes everyone does share a common humanity....and that is the most important thing.

    Thanks for posting your link in Poetry Pantry weekly. I hope you will be able to make some visits as well, as eventually morale drops for those who are regular responders....

  9. Deceptively light and lively - a thoroughly enjoyable read of a profound commentary :)

  10. the shared humanity...that is def the common factor...though the one often overlooked as we find new ways to seperate ourselves in our symbols...

  11. AnonymousJune 03, 2013

    Patriocentric displays are probably necessary for some so that they can keep track of what it is they believe in, but 'the badge inside', that is the signpost of the conscious, the aware and growing. This one was a pleasant surprise.

  12. Absolutely, I hate the way patriotism can used as racism and for exclusion

  13. I like the badge inside. I also like the emblems--lots of them--side by side, not that I have put up a flag since it became a test of citizenship in 9-11. Too many friends were bending to bullying and hanging flags to be safe, and I was ashamed of us.

  14. AnonymousJune 03, 2013

    Hi, J.
    The poem rings true in the last verse. I believe it stands alone as well. Thanks.

  15. I so love the badge of common humanity worn inside. That says it all, kiddo.


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