Poetry: In Flanders Fields

As we head into the Memorial Day weekend, I remembered a poem from childhood. First asked my mother about it when I was a small child in Chicago and saw WWI Vets selling paper poppies.


Envelope with stamps honoring Moina Michael, Athens, Georgia, 1948. Moina Belle Michael was a United States professor and humanitarian, known as the “Poppy Lady” for conceiving the idea of using poppies as a symbol of remembrance for those who served in World War I. In 1948, four years after her death, the U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp honoring her life’s achievement.

In Flanders Fields

By John McCrae
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.

 


The Met has a post worth reading,
In Flanders Fields, 100 Years Later: Comprehending the Incomprehensible, and a lithograph from 1918.

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