The flag of a new nation

By Kendall Merriam

For Liz


Wouldn't it be great

if we could take the colors

of this $6.46 meal

pale green soup

yellow corn muffin

cream colored soy milk

rich brown lemon splash tea (iced)

and make a new flag

without those symbols of war

the reds, blues and stars

a nation which does not march

into wasting battle

we could buy billions of pencils

for scholars around the world

pay $6 fees for school uniforms

made of cotton – – not Kevlar

We would appoint you


far more important than President

or Sec Def

you would be able to feed the world

teaching everybody to read and write

poetry, stories and plays

about real things

the goodness of soup, the goodness of bread

not having to march in military parades

just parades of characters

from books

made with imagination

and papier-mache

wouldn't it be great

to see magnets

saying "Support Our Cooks"

instead of "Support Our Troops"?

if we hung around restaurants

and cafes

eating and sipping

instead of shooting

in Afghanistan and Iraq

or on those "War Breeders"

deadly computer games

that kill the minds

of the young

when they should be climbing ledges

along the shore of Owls Head

or looking for sea glass

on Dick's Beach

killing one man or woman

kills two souls

that of the victim

and that of the shooter

a very sad case

which I do not think was part of God's Plan

metal is for jewelry

and automobiles (bright yellow, of course)

not for bullets, planes and bombs

life could be so good

we have the resources

we have the talent

Why is the boat drifting so badly?

What is the desire for power?

Does it make one live longer?

I think not

It is much more pleasant

to sit in the Hardcover Cafe

and hear confident voices

see interesting and attractive people

Why do the big shots

of Beijing, Washington, Delhi and Moscow

think evilly and harm people

you know, Liz

Jefferson would say we need a


but I think you have a better idea

no one could fire a gun

while eating your delicious soup

and corn muffins

casually sipping tea

if we could get the warriors of the world

in here, relaxing for a change

maybe we could make the world

safe for vichyssoise

all of us would feel better

read books outdoors

and put away guns forever!