If poets must have flags

ask for graceful poetry
to decorate their tyranny
to make the hideous picturesque
entrails look like streamers
blood like wine
death like sleep

ask for wreaths
to strew murdered mens’ graves
posies of sweet-scented words
to drench away the stench

want anger to be buried
in the carved tomb of verse
the people to have music
to fugue human cries of pain
the organ of high mass
to drown out sounds of massacre

ask the poet to be a
a songbird in a cage
a eunuch in a choir
a slave of art
manacling his anguish
in tickling silver chains

We refuse
We’ll go ugly and free
exhuming the corpses
releasing the rot
revealing the holes
ripped by the shot
We’ll wrap around our banners
the guts of the dead
-if we must have flags
let them always be red

By David Evans

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