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


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.