Poem of the Week: ‘Flag’

  • Post Category:English

For this week’s poem, I have chosen Flag by John Agard. It is a poem structured by dialogue in which Agard questions the importance of patriotism by displaying a conversation between a naive questioner and a more sceptical responder. With elements of repetition but also irregular rhyme schemes, it is also very interesting structurally.

Flag by John Agard

What’s that fluttering in a breeze?
Its just a piece of cloth
that brings a nation to its knees.

What’s that unfurling from a pole?
It’s just a piece of cloth
that makes the guts of men grow bold.

What’s that rising over a tent?
It’s just a piece of cloth
that dares the coward to relent.

What’s that flying across a field?
It’s just a piece of cloth
that will outlive the blood you bleed.

How can I possess such a cloth?
Just ask for a flag my friend.
Then blind your conscience to the end.

If you like this, I would highly recommend checking out some of John Agard’s live poetry readings. He has been described as ‘one of the most exciting, energetic and spellbinding readers you’ll hear’ and his readings really bring his work to life!

Here is an example of him reading his poem Half-Caste:

By Isla (Year 12)

Photo Credit:
Bridgeman Art Library / Universal Images Group
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