States of Poetry 2017 - ACT | 'Flags' by Geoff Page

Flags

January 26

The honours list has been announced,
recipients are ‘humbled’.
Three jet fighters, adolescent,

fly past proving nothing.
Fireworks later on are promised.
None of this requires

my serious attention.
How many million barbecues?
Our tall ships and our

sixty thousand years
attempt a sort of balance
along with sundry new arrivals

delivered without fuss
by fishing boat or plane
and living out their thanks ...

with just a few offshore
serving an eternal penance
and some down here more miserable

than we imagine they should be.
What other birthplace would I want?
Half a dozen (max) world-wide

would be no less congenial.
And so it is today,
the twenty-sixth, with beer in hand

and no particular excitement,
I am a patriot-in-waiting
waving lines like these.

Geoff Page


‘Flags’ is another patriotism poem but from a slightly different angle. It’s an undeserved bonus to be born in a country about which one can be lazily ambivalent. It’s not a luxury afforded everyone. – Geoff Page.

Geoff Page

Geoff Page

Geoff Page is based in Canberra and has published twenty-three collections of poetry as well as two novels and five verse novels. His recent books include 1953 (UQP 2013), Improving the News (Pitt Street Poetry 2013), New Selected Poems (Puncher & Wattmann 2013), Aficionado: A Jazz Memoir (Picaro Press 2014), Gods and Uncles (Pitt Street Poetry 2015), Hard Horizons (Pitt Street Poetry 2017) and PLEVNA: A Verse Biography (UWA Publishing 2016). He also edited The Best Australian Poems 2014 and The Best Australian Poems 2015 (Black Inc). His Elegy for Emily: a verse biography is due out shortly from Puncher & Wattmann.