Paper Flag.

Paper Flag

Can you believe them?
Sing their songs then.
Understand them?
Come to terms then.

How can you say,
that they know how to please you,
can’t you see that you are cheated?
Every turn you are defeated.
They pave your way so narrowly,
and strip you of identity.

I see a child in the crowd,
sleep weary eyes.
Waving a banner that once was proud,
now tattered on the wind flies.
Are you that lost soul, never stopping to ask why?
to cry in sorrow for your lost self.
Just why are you waving,
are you too late for saving?

Where are the days of quiet,
and unconnected motion?
The waves that move our minds today,
are all of the same ocean.
Where is the simple rhyme,
days of peaceful solitude?
When only the sun, moon and stars marked off the time,
and the words of songs weren’t so misconstrued.

You’re the child with the paper flag,
do you know why you’re waving?
Are you caught in their trap,
are we all too late for saving?
The crowds are thickest in the centre,
where the banners are held high.
The people are yelling for their saviour,
but I bet they’ve forgotten why.

Stand up and walk away,
then they won’t know what to say.
Live your own dreams,
not invented fantasies.
Make your own choice,
of whose way to see.

Should you believe me?
Sing your songs then.
Create terms then.

I wrote several versions of this, this one, marked f 23,6,78, means that I finished it on the 23rd of June 1978, a Friday I’m reliably informed by t’internet.

I remember that I’d seen an article on the television news, which channel I can’t remember but there were only three to choose from back then. I also can’t remember the exact nature of the article, but it was reporting on something going on in a far-flung land and there to accompany the narrative was a scene of crowds of people in a street, many of them waving flags and banners.

Amongst the throng, the face of a small child caught my eye, a young boy. He was waving a small, what I took to be, paper flag. He waved it rather mechanically, as if it was something he’d been shown how to do and now he was doing it. There was no joy in his eyes, no fear, no sign of anything much, just a blank, haunting stare.

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