The first of our guest poems, sent in by Sameer Siruguri
(Poem #11) 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.
I like the marching rhythm of this poem - short, insistent and conveying a mixture of inspiration and command. The imagery of the poppies in the field (esp. in the last stanza) is really beautiful, echoing the contrast between the exhuberance of Nature and the solemnity of Death, which the soldiers on the lush fields in Ypres must have felt very strongly. I suggested this poem about a week ago and have since seen "Saving Private Ryan", and that has increased the poignancy of it somewhat for me. Excerpts from: http://www.vac-acc.gc.ca/historical/firstwar/mccrae.htm +++++++++++++++++++++++++ "In Flanders Fields" was first published in England's "Punch" magazine in December, 1915. Within months, this poem came to symbolize the sacrifices of all who were fighting in the First World War. [...] In April 1915, John McCrae was in the trenches near Ypres, Belgium, in the area traditionally called Flanders. Some of the heaviest fighting of the First World War took place there during that was known as the Second Battle of Ypres [considered a turning point for the Allies in WW1]. [...] Before he died, John McCrae had the satisfaction of knowing that his poem had been a success. Soon after its publication, it became the most popular poem on the First World War. It was translated into many languages and used on billboards advertising the sale of the first Victory Loan Bonds in Canada in 1917. Designed to raise $150,000,000, the campaign raised $400,000,000. [...] In part because of the poem's popularity, the poppy was adopted as the Flower of Remembrance for the war dead of Britain, France, the United States, Canada and other Commonwealth countries. +++++++++++++++++++++++++ Sam