The Flag Makers

Issue 

What misshapen forms perish for a flag?
Charge, lips pressed, shooter readied, eyes a moon
Final hoarse scraping breaths before the fall
for standard or pennant or rampant rag

Tis ever a murderous myth
A fabric sewn and crafted by hands with all to gain
Presented dyed in patriotic psalm and awful anthem
to the working class,
blackmailed by feigned curse and sham patios

Wretched self interest and sordid plans
of the unmuscled establishment
of Italian suits filled with the unwilling,
the non-human, the estranged, the strange
They who cheer from plush digs
Who order from the rear
of the sacrificial, blood-spilling vanguard
Blind to the innocent

Those who live well and have learned different things,
marinated in Latin at Scots and Cambridge, Harvard and Kings
Coaxing on in forced, uneven vernacular
for their brave "countrymen and women"
For the times, their recycled lies, their purloined war-speak
to convince the unwashed of the honour of the cause
Bugled from exotic sanctuary

Beat the drum. Pump up the fear
Sharpen the stylus for the military march
Conscript the too-human if need be
No cost is too great, no cut and run
To stay the course
To advance the stations
of those who make the flags of war