A pre-independence poetic public service announcement

Activists from an organization calle "Zion Fighters" wave American and Israeli flags at a Glenn Beck rally in Jerusalem.

Activists from an organization calle “Zion Fighters” wave American and Israeli flags at a Glenn Beck rally in Jerusalem.

Inspired (provoked) by a Haaretz headline admonishing leftists to “recapture the Israeli flag”, informed by a recent action in Jaffa in which said flag was spattered with symbolic blood, with Israeli refuser Moriel Rothman’s poetry flup-flup-flupping in my memory, and in anticipation of my own nation’s flag-flupped  Selective Memorial Day and Independence BBQ and Fireworks Displays in the coming weeks and months, I offer the lines of poetry that came to mind in the midst of all this mish-mash. Perhaps one day the Palestinian flag will also join the symbols of State Power to be derided and defaced by those struggling for freedom, and they too will have the privilege of joining Olaf on the refrain:

i sing of Olaf glad and big
e.e. cummings

i sing of Olaf glad and big
whose warmest heart recoiled at war:
a conscientious object-or

his wellbelovéd colonel(trig
westpointer most succinctly bred)
took erring Olaf soon in hand;
but–though an host of overjoyed
noncoms(first knocking on the head
him)do through icy waters roll
that helplessness which others stroke
with brushes recently employed
anent this muddy toiletbowl,
while kindred intellects evoke
allegiance per blunt instruments–
Olaf(being to all intents
a corpse and wanting any rag
upon what God unto him gave)
responds,without getting annoyed
“I will not kiss your fucking flag”

straightway the silver bird looked grave
(departing hurriedly to shave)

but–though all kinds of officers
(a yearning nation’s blueeyed pride)
their passive prey did kick and curse
until for wear their clarion
voices and boots were much the worse,
and egged the firstclassprivates on
his rectum wickedly to tease
by means of skilfully applied
bayonets roasted hot with heat–
Olaf(upon what were once knees)
does almost ceaselessly repeat
“there is some shit I will not eat”


full text on poets.org