Good Friday 2003: The Two Standards

Today I prayed

And saw two flags high

In a battlefield, waving


Over two armies, white

And black, a chessboard

Conflagration, pure light


Against the dark swords

Of the prince of death.

An easy picture; no words


To say past cold breath

Blown to keep hands warm.

Nothing to make a mess.


In Iraq today, the war

Proceeds even though

The dark storm


Of bullets has slowed.

Good and evil combine

In every heart. Everyone knows


This easy truth. The line

Of Iraqi men buried with their guns

Where they fought were fine


Fathers, husbands, sons,

Yet guilty of their own private sins.

Muttering prayers, conversations


With God before they saw grim

Death smiling past them.

The Americans who pulled the pins


Were just like these men,

Scared, scarred, torn between

Two flags, just as I am


Caught between the mean

Rags of lust, greed, pride

And the banner of the queen,


The same woman who sighed

Below a cross watching her child

Slowly suffocate, cry out, die,


A human flag torn by wild

Winds, lowered, then raised

Again over stony fields,


As a living standard of praise

To the one God,

The one truth, the one way.


Paul Totah

April 18, 2003

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