‘It’s Only a Piece of Cloth’: Flag Day poem
By CARL SHAPIRO
SPECIAL TO THE JOURNAL
But because of its colors it has been ripped up, slashed spat upon and burned.
Yet, for only a piece of cloth it has the strongest threads ever joined together.
Its threads are tough – because this piece of cloth is a symbol …
It is a symbol of a PEOPLE, a PURPOSE and a PRESERVATION – a Trinity of Trust in a Cause.
Such a symbol will always be reviled and mutilated, but it can never be destroyed.
It is indestructible because this piece of cloth is sewn with the FIBERS OF FREEDOM …
These sturdy threads create such a strength and unity, that no opposing force can split or dissolve them …
For interwoven within the fibers of this piece of cloth is a THOUGHT, a DEED and a SACRIFICE of countless brave individuals.
In short, it is a fusion of sincerity and devotion – all loomed together to form one unique fabric.
Yes, it’s only a piece of cloth …
But it’s the AMERICAN FLAG.
— Copyright, 1972
EDITOR’S NOTE: A Jersey City native, Shapiro, 73, is a graduate of School 27 and Dickinson High School. He is a novelist and a composer whose articles, reviews and letters have appeared in various New Jersey and New York newspapers, as well as magazines. This poem has been read on commercial and public television programs over the years.