Sunday, November 8, 2009

"In Flanders Field" by John McCrae

November 11th, 2009

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.

Lt.-Col. John McCrae (1872 - 1918)

I learned about this poem in my Contemporary World History class. I don't claim to know a lot about poetry but I found this poem very moving. I had heard the poem before but had never learned much more about it. In discussing the poem I learned so much more about World War I and how it affected the author personally.
This poem was written by a man that had witnessed his friend die during this war. It made the history of this war more real to me. World War I was way before my time so I never learned that much about it. There seemed to be so much more written about World War II so I read more about that war. This poem is just one of thousands written during the war. Writing was one way to cope while being involved in such a horrific situation. While doing some reading on the topic I found out that soldiers published trench magazines for their division or unit. Stories, poems, lyrics... the written word... can be very powerful during times of distress. After the war there were many, many memoirs written as well. What struck me about the poems reference to the poppies was that there was something beautiful growing where there had been so much death and destruction. Read through the poem a few times and think of those who were was very interesting to study the poem line by line and find out what the author might have been thinking at the time he wrote it....

Let's remember our service men, women and veterans....


images from an online source...

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