Black red and yellow were the colours of the stripes
of the flag on the shoulder of the shirts I bought
from on Army Surplus stores when I was in my 20's,
when I was living in Poor Town, North Lincolnshire.
I knew they were the colours of the East German flag.
In the limits of my education I thought they meant
'Through the night and the blood comes the light',
though I have no idea where the phrase came from.
I am sure East Germans were told until it was ground into them
that the black in their flag represented the Nazi past,
and growing malign power of the united German States
from 1870 onward. The red represented the Soviet Socialist army
who rescued them from Hitler, Roosevelt and Churchill,
in what they were taught to call 'The Great Patriotic War'.
And the yellow was the light of the GDR, the state
that succeeded after the war. Little could they, or I, know
that a truer light was yet to come, within a very different Europe.