Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Rik George writes


June poppies, 

orange and yellow, 
are blooming in Denver yards.
They honor no dead. 
This is not Flanders. 
They bloom for joy
that summer has come.

Poppies -- Diane Hoeptner

1 comment:

  1. Dr. John McCrae enrolled in the Canadian Expeditionary Force during World War I. At 41, he could have joined the medical corps but volunteered instead to join a fighting unit as a gunner and medical officer. He fought at the 2nd battle of Ypres in the Flandre region of Belgique, one of the earliest German chemical attacks, but the CEF held its position for more than 2 weeks. A close friend was killed on 2 May, and McCrae performed the burial service himself. The next day he wrote "In Flanders Fields," but discarded it in frustration. Other soldiers retrieved it, and it was published in "Punch" in December. Parts of the poem were used in campaigns to recruit troops and sell war bonds, and the poppies it mentioned became an enduring symbol of the war dead. McCrae transferred to the medical corps and was promoted to lieutenant colonel and in January 1918 became Consulting Physician to the British armies in France. On the day of his appointment he contracted pneumonia; 2 weeks later he died of cerebral meningitis at the military hospital in Wimereux, France.

    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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