Moroni . . . took the pole, which had on the end thereof his rent coat, (and he called it the title of liberty}. (Alma 46:11-13)
Will I gird on armor for feeble
flutterings of seasonal patriotism?
What defense will I raise
for stiff rectangles that recede
in the vanishing permanence
of pleasant parades?
Correct colors of paper expediency
blowing in the autumn breeze
will not bring me to my knees.
Disposable banners, that barely cling
like brittle leaves to dying branches,
will not inspire my heart.
Tomorrow, I will not remember
simulated standards that pale
and dissolve in cold, wet gutters
or flash into ash and float away,
disappearing in the hot air
of pretended passion.
But take the very covering
of wounded flesh and write on it
the price of peace.
Nail this rent coat to a staff,
tall as the tent’s center pole.
Plant it firmly in the earth to
secure the title, our right to liberty.
This sufficient sacrifice
I will not forget.
Beneath this ensign that
defines the desire to be free,
I will worship, serve
and even bleed.
So wave no paper flags for me.