One night, on the precipice of sleep, a fragment materialized in my mind that I immediately aroused myself to record. It led to the following account:
Why does this cloth billow so? It has seen the sunshine of many days and the darkness of many nights, the twilights of oh so many yesterdays. Yet with each fresh gust it prances with greater ease in the sky. While all else around it grow old and reach their ends, it grows younger, shedding thread after thread each year, losing its resistance to the wind’s capricious ways. It is growing younger into sheer nothingness, the day when the cloth will be no more. Until then, it waves with ever-increasing vigor, eager at the prospect of its end.
How many a battle has this cloth seen? More than any mere cotton, it has served as a rallying point in countless skirmishes, as a standard in actions, as a focal point in parade. It is made of such humble materials, yet it has seen more history than the greatest person that ever lived. Its tapestry of patchwork, correcting uncountable battle wounds, attests to that. Many a man has died because of and on behalf of this cloth, a sad trifle it is fortunate it cannot be troubled by.
Such bold and regular geometric patterns! (Only spoiled by hasty repairs.)
Such vivid dashes of color! (T’would be better had it not faded with age.)
Such a spritely dance through the sky!
What is it in this cloth that spurns men to action? Why have so many cheerfully lept into warfare beneath it? What poisoning effect does it have on otherwise thinking minds that drags them down into brutality, even while proclaiming that it stands for all that is noble and patriotic? Yet the uncaring merry cloth tangos in the clear blue sky, oblivious to all it has wrought and all that it will wreak.
This cloth will go on to see the end of the world — the end of the world, caused on its account.
How dare this cloth billow so?