Requiem For A Flag

Requiem For A Flag

© marty kleva

July 4, 2008

permanent url

There are times when images represent an underlying reality of the accepted societal illusion. For me, such is the case with the photo “Requiem”, a sight that I came upon one day while I was on a walk.

I can understand why I had passed it by so many times before without notice. It’s colors are the almost unrecognizable red, white and blue, altered into a dull combination of faded colors and weather-beaten fabric.

Noticeable only by its position of prominence, the wooden dowel of the once brilliantly hued flag of the U.S. stands propped upon a stone wall beneath the portale, and against a hand-hewn pine viga post. Likely it had been carefully placed there on some former Flag Day, Memorial Day, or even some Fourth of July. When I first noticed it, I continued walking on by. I got about ten feet past, and as if something called to me, I looked back and saw the photograph to be taken — not a pretty one — nor even one that might attract a lot of common interest — but to me one that is archetypal and so very symbolic of what I have personally experienced in this country as an American.

To me, this flag expresses how more and more Americans are tired and feel battered; some few very conscious of the reasons why, the great majority not able to explain it, just that they sense that there is something very much amiss in this country. They are so busy complying with all the requirements placed upon them in order to keep a job or two that they have little time to investigate their concerns. They can only rely upon what the system has put in place from which to gather information and trust that they will be told the truth.

While the majority of these Americans have been going about their busy lives other things have been happening:

— the September 11-event that is greatly suspect — with a Commission Report that does not stand up to scrutiny and would not stand a chance in a true court of law.

— a “Patriot Act” that ironically categorizes patriotic Americans to be suspected terrorists.

— a foreign war in Iraq that has been proven to have been initiated for false reasons, those reasons highly suspected to be directly connected across party lines to politicians’ bank accounts.

— Billions of dollars that are admittedly lost by the Pentagon — lost to the military industrial corporations that cannot prove that the expenditures match the payments they have received.

— a President who continually requests more billions to create scores of U.S. military bases and an embassy that resembles a palace — all in Iraq.

— A Congress that continually signs the check for those billions the President asks for.

— A Federal Reserve that under the last and present governors has totally demolished the American Dollar — a currency that is used by the entire world to do business since the Bretton Woods Agreement was signed in 1945.

— A stock market that is not even a Bear Market vs a Bull Market but a totally Manipulated Market that hangs by a thread.

— A banking system that is based on air, having convinced the American people to exist by using “credit”.

— A court system that is no longer run under the Constitution.

— A system that codifies a ‘person’ — like you and me — as a ‘corporation’, not a full live man/woman. Unknowingly, we agree to this when we sign our children’s Birth Certificates and forms to enroll them into Social Security. This then makes us and them the fiduciary to the corporation whose title on the form magically matches our own personal name.

This already too-long list does not even begin to tell the full story of the history of such abuses and treachery against the American Constitution and the American people by some of the elite and major political parties.

However, items similar to those here and others are what finally woke me up sometime in the year 2000 — and like so many of us who are in a deep sleep — it is such a nasty experience to be shaken awake. I wanted to turn over and ignore the screeching alarm.

The once so dearly held so-called American Dream is not just a faded glory, but one that has been literally ripped out from beneath Americans. The disbelief by Americans is almost incomprehensible as I see and hear more and more, “It will never happen in America.” But you see it has already happened, we have just not been able to be awake enough to see it. We have been deluded by the mantra that “America is Safe, America is Free.”

Once this deception is clearly seen, the illusion can never be restored.

For me, it was then a simple matter to understand that what I believed to be a two-party political system is nothing of the sort. It is a conglomerate group of elitists playing their version of Summer Camp Color Wars that convincingly creates a place in the parade for victory to have the common man believe that he/she participates.

When an illusion like this breaks up, it is more than uncomfortable, it is downright devastating and creates an environment that is shaky at best. In this place you try to find others who have also been shaken awake and try to establish some common ground, only to find that even here there are great divisions, and people believing that once they now see clear of the illusion that their main goal is to resist all it stands for and to declare their own personal war upon the illusory beast.

I too struggled with this and more fortunately than many others, realized that resistance is debilitating and can be destructive and dangerous, but learning and further self-education is empowering. I went through a time when I wished more than anything that this country could turn back the clock to the original Constitution, what I mistakenly thought to be idyllic times.

But illusions are not simply cleared nor do they go away quickly. They linger and it's like walking through a deep penetrating fog that begins to shift back and forth and eventually opens into a light mist where the rays of the sun barely shine through. You have to wade through it all to come out on the other side. The important thing to remember is to keep moving and be aware of the many mirrors inside the illusion where one can be mesmerized and unfortunately become frozen and paralyzed by an illusory reality created for our distraction and entertainment by the producers of the carnavale.

I stumbled onto these places — and in some, I battled ethereal windmills, while in others I studied my surroundings very carefully before moving out of the warped maze of mirrors through the one opening that was an aperture to escape the perpetual circle of deceit.

Over and over the lesson was repeated for me. I felt great need to stop and rest and sometimes I did if only from the sheer exhaustion. However, a great internal force of tension kept moving me onward. One thing I was sure about is that when I no longer felt the need to resist then I would have made it through to the edge of the great penetrating fog and no longer under the sole influence of its power.

Once there, it is as if a binding shackle has been shattered. The release from such a force can be extreme and disorienting. This is new territory and the terrain is not familiar. You don’t know what’s what or who’s who and you must figure it all out from scratch.

In between there is a slight window of time when one can step back, back into the deep penetrating fog if one chooses to — and some do.

It is here at this edge of the unknown light before you that all your doubts and demons are summoned to the surface. There is that innate knowing that one more step forward is the one that crosses the Rubicon. I decided to make the crossing and find myself here today knowing that the illusion, the list of distractions and entertainments have not been solely created in my lifetime, but have been steadily added to since before the advent of the birth of this nation.

The difference is in the knowing — knowing that you live in a house of cards and mirrors is entirely different from the one that is lived believing everything is built on safe granite.

Coming to terms with feelings that are thought of as negative greatly adds to the knowing, and as one works through the anger and resentment, rather than insist they do not exist, the journey opens further, and continues to unfold into a clearer understanding of the difference between where you’ve been and where you now stand.

However, much overlooked is the process of grieving, for even the grief felt from leaving an abusive environment is painful. If the pain is buried and never acknowledge, it becomes a festering wound that will eventually show up as a major event in the future.

So I am of the thinking that the process of grieving is a bridge between the past and the unknown future yet to be created — a possible step into a new paradigm. Having come to this place after eighth years of waking up to this situation, and after six months ago coming upon this symbolic scenario that had been created by time and events long past by someone I do not know, a photo resulted, one claiming all the pieces in one click of the shutter that has enabled me to culminate the process of waking up and seeing the illusions I have lived in — at least to this moment of time.

Only here, and after an expression of grief will this country be able to step forward into a new future without the constrictions of the past or the agenda of those who would have us believe in their new illusion of 'one size fits all’ called a ‘one world order.’

To this end, one of a new paradigm, a future yet to be hewn and carved by conscious choice, I offer the following — “Requiem For A Flag.”

“Requiem For A Flag.”

© marty kleva


Lamentably where once this country invited the ‘tired and poor’ onto these great shores

— the tired and poor now rest upon them.

The once noble nation for which this flag gloriously flew in honor of the inalienable rights of freedom

— now decomposes into its elements of corruption and putrefaction.

The once grand and stately flag, shamed and defiled, hangs limp and weathered, unkempt and ragged

— its red and white stripes reduced to sackcloth and ashes.

The once blazoned stars of extraordinary vision no longer rest upon a field of midnight

— poked out of the fabric meant to fuse this country’s ideals.

There is a great and vainglorious rift that has rent the heartland from its moorings

— as it drowns in a flood of tears

The people mourn the loss of a dream once lived

— too short.

The Republic has been beaten and battered into submission

— by the sleight of hand elitists who have duped the world in the aftermath of a blustering silent coup.

Now it is reduced to a dream that has no more substance

— than an ad agency’s shallow hype or the politicians eternally empty promises.

A dream so many have lived and died to experience

— just one more day.

A dream of freedom that is now awash in a sea

— of unprincipled lawlessness and illusion.

Where once there may have been statesmanship

— there is now pernicious political greed.

Where once there may have been integrity

— there is a vast integral of unpardonable criminality.

It is a time of mourning

— for this once greatly esteemed nation has lost its centerboard.

Its sails droop

— for there is no longer a clear breeze to fill their wings.

The captains

— have been intoxicated with demented power.

And the crews

— dare not even turn their mutinous backs upon one another.

Where once this country was a shining light to all

Where once the trumpets blared with symphonious ruffles and flourishes

— there remains only a dim resemblance of such sight and sound.

Now decomposed into a dissonant dirge

— at the hands of those whose watch, the lit lamp is snuffed out and the harmony reduced to a cacophonous Babel.

The Death Song is heard in every land

— across every sea and over every mountain

The procession of plodding and persevering mourners deplore the end

— swaying like willows to lament the loss.

We/They go forth to put the final fist of earthly dirt upon the coffin of our dreams

— to unleash the unseen specter of Retribution upon those who have so miserably betrayed their oaths.

And to finally set free the Spirits of Redemption and Resurrection.

with ‘hayam’ — love that wanders the earth,

~ mek


Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

In Flanders’ Fields

Gem Fire Air
In Flanders' Fields
marty kleva
May 28, 2007

permanent url

In Flanders’ Fields

— Major John McCrae

In Flanders’ Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders’ Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders’ Fields.

Today, May 28th, the last Monday in May, America celebrates Memorial Day as part of the national holiday weekend. It was not always so, as the first Memorial Day came from the original idea in the Spring of 1866 by Henry C. Welles, a druggist in the village of Waterloo, NY who suggested that the patriots who had died in the Civil War should be honored by decorating their graves. From this, Decoration Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan in his General Order No. 11 and was first observed on May 30, 1868.

We presently celebrate Decoration Day as Memorial Day and in May in 1971, it was declared a national holiday to be held on the last Monday .

I have chosen the occasion to be memorialized by the most famous of poems written during a war, In Flanders’ Field, a poem written during the spring of 1915 in WWI by Canadian army surgeon John McCrae after he had endured what he describes as “Seventeen days of Hades!” — seventeen days of treating the wounded brought to his field station on the fields of Flanders, a field that was abundantly strewn with blooming poppies.

For those of you who are not familiar, Flanders is in western Belgium. It is a flat, boggy country where people speak Flemish, a place that holds old and famous cities like Antwerp, Bruges (Brussels) and Ypres. For centuries the fields of Flanders have been soaked with the blood of the English, Europeans, and Prussians alike in such battles as the one between Wellington and Napoleon at Waterloo.

In this muddy churn of soggy soil, Major McCrae witnessed the death of a young friend and former student, Lieut. Alexis Helmer of Ottawa, killed by an 8-inch German shell burst on May 2, 1915. According to reports, his remains were scattered all over the place. Soldiers gathered them, put them in sandbags, and laid them on an army blanket that was closed with safety pins.

This report by Rob Ruggenberg describes the events of McCrae’s inspiration and anguish for In Flanders’ Field.

The burial (of Helmer), in the rapidly growing cemetery (called Essex Farm), just outside McCrae's dressing station, was postponed until late that evening. McCrae performed the funeral ceremony in the absence of the chaplain, reciting from memory some passages from the Church of England's Order of Burial of the Dead. This happened in complete darkness, as for security reasons it was forbidden to make light.

The next evening, sitting on the rear step of an ambulance parked near the dressing station beside the Yser Canal, just a few hundred yards north of Ypres, McCrae vented his anguish by composing a poem. The major was no stranger to writing, having authored several medical texts besides dabbling in poetry.

As McCrae sat there he heard larks singing and he could see the wild poppies that sprang up from the ditches and the graves in front of him (see the drawing right by Edward Morrison, or this picture of the cemetery, made shortly after the war). He spent twenty minutes of precious rest time scribbling fifteen lines of verse in a notebook. A young soldier watched him write it. Cyril Allinson, a twenty-two year old sergeant major, was delivering mail that day when he spotted McCrae. The major looked up as Allinson approached, then went on writing while the sergeant major stood there quietly.

"His face was very tired but calm as he wrote", Allinson recalled. "He looked around from time to time, his eyes straying to Helmer's grave."

When McCrae finished five minutes later, he took his mail from Allinson and, without saying a word, handed his pad to the young NCO. Allinson was moved by what he read:

"The poem was an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene."

Commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Edward Morrison, and a former Ottawa newspaper editor, verifies Allison’s recollections. This is how Morrison describes the scene:

"This poem was literally born of fire and blood during the hottest phase of the second battle of Ypres. My headquarters were in a trench on the top of the bank of the Ypres Canal, and John had his dressing station in a hole dug in the foot of the bank. During periods in the battle men who were shot actually rolled down the bank into his dressing station.

Along from us a few hundred yards was the headquarters of a regiment, and many times during the sixteen days of battle, he and I watched them burying their dead whenever there was a lull. Thus the crosses, row on row, grew into a good-sized cemetery.

Just as he describes, we often heard in the mornings the larks singing high in the air, between the crash of the shell and the reports of the guns in the battery just beside us."

The poem, initially named We Shall Not Sleep, was nearly not published as McCrae being dissatisfied with it tossed the poem away, but Morrison retrieved it and sent it to newspapers in England. The Spectator, in London, rejected it and sent the poem back, but Punch published it on 8 December 1915.

Although in later times, the poppy became associated with Armistice Day in November, the original symbol of the poppy was birthed in McCrae’s poem with the spring breeze blowing across a bloodied battlefield in Flanders.

There are some subtle symbolic references here, especially with those varieties of the poppy whose seedpod is the source of opium — a drug that is a strong painkiller having the additional backdoor hazard of addiction. The modern wars with the Taliban have an incorporated issue with the production of opium from their practice of growing huge quantities of poppy fields in Afghanistan.

Poppy and opium are associated with deep sleep, the poppy being known from the time of Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan as the flower associated with human sacrifice. In the 12th and early 13th centuries, he led warrior hordes south on campaigns for the conquest of India, and west to envelope Russia as far as the shores of the Black Sea.

In today’s time, who is sleeping? What is being sacrificed?

Over 3,430 American military have died in the Iraq war, as well as many thousands more Iraqi civilians and non-military American contractors. In our own Civil War, over a million of Americans died and during Gen. Robert E. Lee's first invasion of the North, at Antietam, Maryland, in one day alone, Sept. 17, 1862, more than 23,000 men were killed, wounded or went missing.

In a recent newsletter, Bob Bauman of the Sovereign Society wrote:

To observe that so many have died in the American cause over so many centuries only accentuates the meaning and importance of the cause for which they gave their last full measure of devotion. They died before their time, with promises unrealized, and in the service of their country. Their very real sacrifice for our liberties makes it all the more important that we guard against diminution of those liberties in our own time -- whether the threat is from abroad, or from within our own government.

Each of us always needs to be prepared for that unexpected hour of death, we know not when. The call to duty and service to country remains distant and unreal for too many Americans. As a nation we need always to be certain that in any war, including the so-called "war on terror," our cause is defensible and just.

None of those men who came home from WWI, WWII, the Korean War, Viet Nam, and now Iraq have come home whole and untouched, even if they have not been physically wounded. The traumas of war are not readily evident when the cry to war is heralded, especially as it is heralded as a duty to fight for freedom, and glorified as an act to bring an end to things like ‘terror’.

In Tibetan Buddhist thought, it is said that our existence is made up of six realms, and that it is only in the human realm that we can get off the Wheel of Suffering, aka Karma. This cannot be accomplished in any of the other realms — not even in the blissful state of ignorance that compels the God realm, nor the agonized yearnings that typifies the Hungry Ghost realm. Only when a person sees the spectrum of reality in toto and realizes his/her place in it is the opportunity available to exit the Wheel of Suffering.

For all the wars fought both in the past and presently by the U.S., including those we have been and are directly and covertly engaged with, all represent the Wheel of Karma and are similar to the treadmill of the familiar hamster wheel — one that goes nowhere and which only suffices to either work off nervous energy and/or embed it more deeply into the psyche — all within the cage of someone else’s construction.

At least since the times of the last Crusades, and most especially in the present, our entire reality is a cage of war, now a disc of digitally engraved fear and hatred burned into the human psyche. The disc is forever in the perpetual motion of pick a target > instigate a conflict > convince the people there is a threat to their security > create an event that triggers mass fear > declare a war and send thousands to their deaths and to a life lived in, as Major John McCrae says, the Hell realm.

When we get off the treadmill that like the poppy, lulls us to sleep, inside a cage constructed by others who manipulate war for their own profits —

When we decide to form an informed conscience and mind about what the conflict is truly about and what political and financial motivations are behind it —

When we can clarify the issues and get the pertinent facts and not be filled by fear, hatred, and prefigured reactions —

Then and only then might we begin to genuinely examine the possibility of establishing peace.

By doing the above, I would think that were we to be able to speak today with those who lie in Flanders, they might know that we do not break faith with their last thoughts and that they might at last sleep more peacefully knowing that we are fully awake.

Con Amore,

~ mek


Labels: , , , , , , ,