15 August 2018

Dreaming in Flags

United Nations members' national flags
(Tom Page, photo)

Flags wait for dark.  Then their silken fabric
slides off their poles and drapes wonder
around me and passersby—carnival
of startling color and design.  Coats of
arms and arms in coats fill the avenues
in Philadelphia and New York City.

I see my two homes have swathed me in blue
with seals of state under a cape striped red
and white.  My Phrygian cap is blue with.  
white stars.  Eagles look out from each long sleeve,
while horses prance on shirt front and back
with sailing ships and plows and crops and wreaths. 

Mythic women face each other down each
pants leg: Liberty holding up her torch
while standing on a crown, and blind-folded
Justice holding up her sword, balancing
a scale.  To my surprise, I am joyful
and light-hearted—not heavy with history.

With so much to enjoy, who could be sad?
Empty poles line the streets, but people walk in
silky colors.  We clash only in hue.
In dream we practice each other’s dance steps,
cooperate with rescues and welcomes.
Tensions vanish when we take down our flags.

 My blog poems are rough drafts.
lease respect my copyright. 

© 2018 Susan L. Chast


  1. O My! Your poem sent me to google to know more about US flags and also about "Phrygian"...."In dream we practice each other’s dance steps, / cooperate with rescues and welcomes."...Hope this is the reality, some day. So wonderful to read this one, Susan and thanks for the prompt.

  2. A powerful poem - you capture something really quite brilliant

  3. I love how you symbolize every element to its core — the brilliance of colors and motifs give life to your words. And to imbibe the spirit of three flags is quite an endeavor.
    The last stanza is for the ages, as it depicts how such symbols have come out to demarcate people and divide them too. "We clash only in hue./In dream we practice each other’s dance steps, cooperate with rescues and welcomes": Perfect!

  4. "Tensions vanish when we take down our flags." I love that, and enjoyed your descriptions of the coats of arms and the flag. A tone of celebration in this poem.........I really enjoyed it.

  5. Sadly, reading this poem, am reminded of the darkness that hides behind your words, Susan. Of the darkness that's committed under a nation's colour. Sorry for the darkness, today.

  6. It is difficult to think of a country whose history is not shrouded in shame.
    How elequently you express this Susan. Sadly humanity is no so humane in its characteristics and has been this way for a very long time.

  7. I have never seen so many flags like that, Susan, and it's an amazing sight. I imagine it must sound interesting in the wind, with all those flags flapping and rustling! We don't have anything like that here, only during the Olympics. I suppose the Union Jack over Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle is enough for most people, as it shows the Queen is in residence. Otherwise flags are flown at half-mast when someone important dies. Where did our nation of flag-wavers go?

  8. I love the hope in your closing stanza Susan - oh if only this could be!

    An aside: It is strange how the flags can unite and divide...pieces of cloth hold so much power...

    Anna :o]

  9. Just looking up at the Stars and Stripes … sometimes it’s hard to describe!An intense piece, Susan...it will have a special place in my memory.
    The concluding paragraph necessitates introspection Brilliant writng...

  10. We hope that what we do in dream eventually translates into reality. A powerful message.


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