Sunday 9 November 2008

Paper Poppy

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
In Flanders Fields, by John McCrae

It is Remembrance Sunday today. I have never been very aware of it. That is, until I started dating my wife. Now, on her initiative, I buy a paper poppy which is sold everywhere in England. Before that, all I knew about the poppy flower and John McCrae's poem was the dreadful History by the Minute episode that was so ridiculously solemn and laughably patriotic, to the point of being obscene (like most of the episodes of this propaganda program). Now I have friends in the army, so I am more sensitive/sensible to the work and sacrifice of the people in the army. I now like the simplicity of the poppy, like a drop of blood on a grey November day, beautiful in its mourning sadness.


holly wynne said...

This is a great and thoughtful post. Love the poem too.

Frankofile said...

The massive Canadian WW1 memorial at Vimy Ridge is on land now granted in perpetuity to Canada

Guillaume said...

Holly-Thank you for your kind word. I try to be thoughtful.
Frankofile-Thank you for the info.