Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Betsy Ross

I never intended to be a rebel
at the time, I was more of a lover
though I suppose that eloping with John Ross
and marrying him in Hugg’s Tavern might
have been construed as rebellious
having then been “read out” by the Quakers
disowned by the Griscoms at twenty-one
hardened me to perils I would face
our surreptitious boat ride across the Delaware
was my first act of protest
the war against the British killed John and husband number two
suffering Tory soldiers in my home
I sewed buttons for George W.
and between upholstery jobs
made a few puffy shirts for him, too
he asked if I could sew a flag for our new country
I answered with my five-pointed star
then I whip stitched myself into history
today, you say someone might burn the Stars & Stripes
to protest our own government’s trespasses
somewhat unpatriotic, indeed
I would have burned that “Don’t Tread On Me” flag
protesting just its ugliness
you know, elections do not swiftly satisfy unrest
sometimes a nation will not extract itself from war
a little flame and smoke
might jar it from complacency
as the star spangled kindling of revolt bursts in the air
this symbolic speech might be quicker, more stirring

here, let me light the match

Barry DeCarli
©2010 Barry DeCarli

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