Friday, June 30, 2023

A Sea of Crimson..... Poppies.

The stunning sight of a sea of crimson poppies always takes you by surprise, causing you to catch your breath in wonder. Swathes of vivid colour stretch out before you, cloaking the most unassuming terrain or wasteland with such intensity that it is difficult to believe that this will be just a fleeting moment in time. The delicate papery petals will shortly wilt and die off, one by one, flower by flower until the whole expanse has vanished for another year.
The strange mixture of ephemerality and intensity, complexity and simplicity, forcefulness and fragility makes this phenomenon all the more incredible and it is not surprising that fields of poppies are synonymous with the battlefields of World War 1, which would bloom overnight with flowers that seemed to draw from the blood spilt on the foreign soil of France and Belgium.
Not surprising either then, that the poppy should have inspired a number of war poets, one of whom being the Canadian, John McCrae, who wrote In Flanders Fields in 1915, a few years before his own death, in 1918.
In Flanders fields the poppies grown, 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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