Thirteen folds

Thirteen folds

Not so long ago, down at the theater, we temporarily had to take down a large American flag. The man I was working with treated this job with the utmost care. I found the whole experience strangely moving.  To share with friends over at the dVerse Poets Pub.


Thirteen folds

He would not permit that it touch
the ground. The Flag. Methodically,
he gave his orders, calling forth
a kind of reverence in that dusty hall.

Fold lengthwise once, twice, he said,
making sure the stars are facing out.
Then beginning at the far end from
the field of blue, take the striped corner

of the folded edge and fold a triangle
upwards to the open edge. Turn the
triangle inwards parallel to the top edge,
and make another triangle.

Keep folding triangles, carefully,
solemnly, eleven times in all,
until you reach the end and all that
shows is a perfect three-cornered hat,

a pillow of stars on a free blue sky.
We followed every instruction..
It was as if his life depended on it.
Maybe ours did too.



About Andrew Kreider

I'm a poet and musician,transplanted from London, England to beautiful northern Indiana. By day I am a stay-at-home dad with our three kids while my amazingly talented spouse conquers medical school one long shift at a time. At night, I'm a performer and trouble-maker. I love my life.

6 responses »

  1. I really love all the deliberate detail. In that way, it seems to me that the poem perfectly matches the experience you had. I like the perspective: that this ritual is not one that was familiar to you, but you treated it with respect.

  2. did you ever have flag corp in school…in elementary school we did…and if chose you would take the flag down every day at the end of school….there were protocol to follow…and ceremony to be had…it taught me much of respecting the flag….and you took me back there…some lives do depend on it….

  3. Andrew, you gave me goosebumps! and chills–I have watched flag folding done reverently too, and it is a moving experience. Perfect ending 🙂

  4. Rituals can be so compelling.

  5. Reverence, patriotism, hope and those that care enough to keep the rituals are all treasures. I thoroughly enjoyed your poem. It made me remember moments where the field of blue gave me comfort.

  6. hypercryptical

    Beautiful reverence.

    This patriotism no longer exists in the UK – as you no doubt know – and I think (as a country) its loss has made us apathetic…

    Fervent patriotism has its dangers too…

    Anna :o]


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