Tuesday Poem: 'Flag' by John Agard

With everything that's happening in the world at the moment, this poem by John Agard seems very apt.


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.

© John Agard
Half-Caste and Other Poems (Hodder Children's, 2004)

If you would like to hear John Agard reading this and other poems this is the link to the Poetry Archive. 

John Agard photographed by Caroline Forbes
John Agard was born in Guyana in 1949 (a British colony at the time) and settled in Britain with his partner, the poet Grace Nichols.  He has an awesome list of publications - 'Flag' is included in the GCSE English syllabus.  

Many thanks to Gerry's blog, for recommending this poem to me. 

Why not pop over to the Tuesday Poem website and see what other Tuesday Poets are posting?  Just click on this link. 


  1. Succinct but carries a very moving message...Makes one realise what power is invested in that 'piece of cloth' but does it in an unforgettable way. Thanks for posting this unusual poem Kathy.

  2. This feels very apposite given 'the times.". Thank you for posting, Kathleen.

  3. Thanks both. Yes, the poem moved me very much.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Im doing this poem for my GCSE'S and am a bit confused with the meaning I know most of it Im just unsure of what it simbolises if anyone can tell me what its about I would be greatly appreciated


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