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Son of a Flag

June 24, 2011

Photograph Copyright © 2011 Theena Kumaragurunathan

I asked the Officer, 

‘What of my son?

Is he on his way home,

In uniform sparkling bright?

Or is he carrying a flag – 

Prolonging your plight?’ 

He looked at me, 

Face sincere yet eyes untrue –

‘A patriot’, I reasoned –

A father of a son he was too;

The Happy-If-His-Was-Alive-And-Proud-If-Dead type –

Empathy, he never knew. 

From wombs to wooden coffins, 

From blankets to the ceremonial embrace of flags, 

The journey is complete for them, our Sons of Flags,  

But in them live the oldest lie, 

 And a nation’s news.

– Theena Kumaragurunathan, 2005

Poem inspired by Wilfred Owen’s monumental war poetry. Photographs from the WWII Memorial in Trincomalee. More here:

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 26, 2011 4:16 am

    Strong words, very thought provoking….

  2. June 26, 2011 1:53 pm

    Thank you.

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