FLAGS AND CANDLES

Rating: 4.0

Flags line up an hour before they're chosen,
wave back along the row at others like them.
Candles sit in boxes or lie still,

sealed, and each imagines what will happen.
Flags will not accept the explanation
of why they were not needed as they are now.

Candles feel they're made of stuff that's soft
for a good cause, though maybe not their own cause.
Tall flags love all flags if it's their flags.

Small flags are okay about immense flags.
Candles doze in xylophones of colour,
Thrilled their purpose maybe merely pattern.

Flags are picked out one by one. The others
muster in the gap and say Gap, What gap?
Candles dream of something that will change them,

that is the making of and death of candles.
Flags don't dream of anything but more flags.
The wind is blowing; only the landscape changes.

Candles have the ghost of an idea
exactly what the wick is for: they hope so.
Flags have learned you can't see flags at nighttime,

no way, not even giants in a windstorm.
Candles learn that they may do their damnedest
and go unnoticed even by old candles.

When I wave flags, flags think it's the world waving
while flags are holding fast. When I light candles,
candles hold the breath that if it came

would kill them; then we tremble like our shadows.
Flags know nothing but they thump all morning.
Candles shed a light and burn to darkness.

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