A displaced professor,
imprisoned during that brief flame
smothered by tanks ten years before,
shovels a filthy furnace
while awareness sleeps.
of communist ascent.
His neighbors celebrate
by flying from their balconies
bright patriotic flags,
while he stokes demanding flames.
His wife awakens five children
to wait in the chilled room
for him to hobble home at Dawn.
They sip weary coffee,
while she complains.
"They came again last night,
demanded we fly their flags;
threatened that unless we comply,
you'll lose your job, this place,
our children their school.
I know we fight this stifling reign,
but little flags, are they so huge,
that our children's lives
should be jeopardized?"
he starts to explode,
Slowly, he sits again,
in trembling control.
Looking away, he explains:
Their threats but stretch the strength of our beliefs.
Think strategy! Should we concede one thing,
however small, they'll mark us among the weak,
ask for more, still more, until our protest sinks
But principle denies this act
more strongly. Who are we to fix a future
glued to surrender--a callous country lacking
liberty, where young have no hope but to endure?
In post-war years, we used to rail about
our parents' draining courage, their compromise.
We didn't hate those few who shouted out,
even when answering echoes made us cry.
In our children's world, how then will we explain
we quit for them, when for them no rights remain?