Charles J. Ingerson

FLAGS OF MANY NATIONS

Raging

In the fires
of hell
we find
flying colors
on the ships
called,
‘Man-O-War’
where died
many valiant
beneath the decks
making alive
the ship to fight
for freedoms
worth the cost.

And as boilers
exploded within
imploding the ship
still at their posts
knowing over head
until the end
flew the ensign
of their nation
red, white and blue.

Laying Quiet

Maybe a lifting
of an edge
with the zephyr
in stifling heat.

Yet mostly docile
upon the coffin
being placed
in a final rest.

Silently folded
almost sacred
the hands touched
until handed away.

What lay beneath
in a heart stilled
by the pounding
guns of nations.

Was it youth or age
was it courage
was it yet another
paying freedom’s wage?

Over Two Hundred

Now only 27 left
who caressed
that hill in Iwo
raising the colors.

One a Pima Indian
poor before and pained
were his people
who died in rain and mud.

Ira Hayes was there
that day to raise
until we humbled him
into drink and joke.

The Medal of Honor
then his virtue
strewn in drink
and jails forlorn.

In jest they’d
let him raise
the American flag
again and again.

His Nation mourns
as we do now as well
for what was within
we exposed as hell.

Within

Each camp separate
by scores of years
left almost desolate
except for the tears.

Yet found in all
was somehow made
a flag to recall
providing eternal shade.

For in each wherever
we are to look about
is the flag forever
somehow able to shout.

We find for a POW
life was not kind
as TV oft does wow
but debilitating to find.

In photos though found
at war’s end or home
there without a sound
is the flag all alone.

Within our hearts
we must search with care
are we doing our parts
as a nation to freedom share?

Flags of Many Nations

Finding but one all told
the flag the same to fold
whether in warmth or cold
weary as now growing old.

Many now do mock and jeer
burning a constitution clear
an ensign once to cause fear
protecting freedoms cheer.

Maybe some will take offense
at words like liberty’s fence
with power and might as defense
that war really makes no sense.

Would we go again to fight
so as to die alone at night
to witness a horrible sight
waking with dreams of fright?

If you have to us ask
then you don’t know the task
for without guile we’ll de-mask
keeping dry our powder-flask.

It is the flag for which we go
caught between your rights to know
in tracer’s fading light’s glow
the red, white and blue to flow.

Then We See

Never alone to fly
but others there
being held high
showing love to share.

Knowing the call
forward lads hear
one an all
nothing to fear.

Come on mates
let’s too go
forget the dates
we’ve colors to show.

The Kiwi’s found
right along side
in combat bound
brave all to reside.

Damn Yanks invite
just can’t refuse
wouldn’t be polite
a love to abuse.

Thus came a friend
through thick and thin
staying till the end
bloods mixed within.

All of the flags there
present to the toll
freedom’s to care
answering the roll.

(Epilogue:

In each’s home
found a place
where none alone
flags to embrace.

In gardens of marble
row upon row upon row
we’ll plant a flag
remembering another:
a sister, brother
who went where
so far we’ve not
been called to see
on this field today.

Each within thoughts
equally private yet known
tears to trace memory’s
while vacant the look
which holds us unseeing
the day or tomorrow
only the red of blood
and the white of clouds
with the blue of sky.

Please embrace in silence
ponder with some peace
that another cared enough
for your (mine) freedom’s
to go beyond mere duty
sacrificing so others
might also see each day
the ensign of freedom
‘Old Glory’ red, white and blue.)

Of Course

Of course
there are
others
to wave
but time
and again
it is these
we find
as sisters
brothers
side by side
sharing
the stillness
of the peace
and the horror
of the
battlefields.

May we
remember
all flown
in the
pursuit
of peace:
that a child
may at night
sleep warm
not fearing
to be
forever
left alone
without
food or home
while we
stand united.