The First Time They Lowered The Flags by Peter Ainsworth

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Photo by Patrick Nouhailler

The first time they lowered the flags
The President bowed his head.

The next time they placed flowers
To mourn the dead.

The time after that they held
A two minute peace.

Then they got worried
That it wouldn’t cease –

The silences were harder
To achieve by now

As it was commonplace.
There was some row

About lowering flags
All the time and condolences

And messages of sympathy
And endless silences

To record the photo grief
And remember the dead.

“Enough is enough”
So the President said.

But it wasn’t enough
For those whose thrill

Came from the heavenly
Urge to kill.

So the drooping flags
Hung at half mast

Forever; flopping emblems
Of a vanished past.