Welcome friends...thanks for coming by. We're seeking beauty in all of creation... in our faith and our families; our art and our music; our crafts and kitchens, and even in our own backyard. We'll share a poem or a recipe, a picture or a memory; maybe a dream of how we wish our life could be. And though we acknowledge that the world can be harsh, we're keeping it pleasant in our little corner; endeavoring to keep the words from the Book of all Books: ...Whatsoever things are lovely; think on these things.

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Photo: Bee and thistle: Taken high in the Cascade Mountains where there is a bee buzzing on every thistle. by Debora Rorvig

Sunday, November 11, 2012

In Flanders fields the poppies blow...

My mother used to recite this poem to me. I always found it hauntingly beautiful. I was reminded of it today by a photograph of poppies on my blogger-friend, Ellen's site.
I think it an appropriate tribute to brave soldiers everywhere, who have fought valiantly for our freedom. And I especially remember my brothers who now lie in "Flanders field" along with many others of my family.

Below the poem is a short Wikipedia excerpt which explains the circumstances that inspired John McCrae's words...

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.

John McCrae

McCrae fought in the second battle of Ypres in the Flanders region of Belgium where the German army launched one of the first chemical attacks in the history of war. They attacked the Canadian position with chlorine gas on April 22, 1915, but were unable to break through the Canadian line which held for over two weeks. In a letter written to his mother, McCrae described the battle as a "nightmare": "For seventeen days and seventeen nights none of us have had our clothes off, nor our boots even, except occasionally. In all that time while I was awake, gunfire and rifle fire never ceased for sixty seconds ..... And behind it all was the constant background of the sights of the dead, the wounded, the maimed, and a terrible anxiety lest the line should give way."[7] Alexis Helmer, a close friend, was killed during the battle on May 2. McCrae performed the burial service himself, at which time he noted how poppies quickly grew around the graves of those who died at Ypres. The next day, he composed the poem while sitting in the back of an ambulance.[8]   


ellen b. said...

It's amazing the creative results of those who have suffered much. Beautiful tribute to all who have fought and served for our freedoms!

BECKY said...

I love that poem, too, Debora. It always gives me chills.

farmlady said...

This is a lovely poem and now, knowing its history, it become even more poignant and meaningful.
Thank you...

Linda O'Connell said...

Battles fought, lives lost... the people selling those paper poppies today are a sad reminder for me.

Anneliese said...

Did you know that Canadians wear a poppy on remembrance Day (Veterans Day)? We were across the line at Olive Garden on Nov 11th and another Canadian was asked about it... making me realize that it was not an American custom.


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