Flagging Efforts

“Oh say can you see?,”
Sing but please not offKey,
War of 1812 air:
“Our flag was still there.”
That was/is our own herald
By F. Scott (not Fitzgerald).

Later his friend Fritchie said,
“Shoot if you must this old gray head.”
Ancient, yes, but still prettier
Than John Greenleaf’s; he was wittier.
The Civil War, the untold dead:
“But spare your country’s flag,” she said.

“May it wave as our emblem forever,”
Lieutenant Sousa’s flut’ring endeavor;
Forty-eight stars plus Fourteen Points would de-
Sign a world that is “safe for democracy.”
“You’re a grand old flag” – already known —
But tolled again by George M. Cohan.

In verse, in song, and now in paint
In red, in white, in blue not faint,
Not abstract, not expressionism,
Jasper Johns’ was his own vision
And perhaps as well his pun:
These are colors that do run.

-Joe Illick 1/14

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