Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day remembrance: In Flanders Fields

From American History, Smithsonian Institute.
In Flanders Fields. The poem, written by World War I Canadian Army surgeon John McCrae, provided a vivid image of sacrifice. Corn poppies flourish in disturbed soils; they bloomed by the millions among the splintered trees, tangles of barbed wire, ruined corpses, shell holes, and trenches lacerating the battlefields of Europe. These tiny scarlet blooms, seemingly stained by the blood-soaked soil, gave hope that something beautiful could arise from the cruelty and violence. Since 1921, the corn poppy has been a symbol that we shall remember them.

Poem In Flanders Fields

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.

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