This Union Means Jack

Written by: Howard Bull

Twitching limply atop an Ulster lamppost
Like a hung man, legs kicking in spasm at the last seconds of life
Its bigoted purpose now spent and now abandoned to the elements
No longer recognisable as the flag of union, a rag, a disgrace

Its fate summarises the fall of a culture that once honoured it
A proud nation of proud men, of starched collars and stiff upper lip
Colonially pink maps on schoolroom walls bore testament to empire
An empire won and lost when the map turned from pink to red
 
Up and at ’em lads! For King and country! Hold the banner high!  
Ypres and the Somme, regiments of the brave under one colour
The twitching curtains of multi-culture now fearful of the emblem
The emblem of abhorrence uncased by those not qualified to fly it

Patriotism, a narrow path parting pride from prejudice
Defined by a flag, one duplicitous fluttering cloth, a split personality
Now the badge of hooligan, xenophobe and pop diva
Courage now gone, bleached by sun, washed by rain…atop an Ulster lamp post