11 April 2017
“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
As a student in elementary school in the 1950s, I was expected to learn “In Flanders Fields.” Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel McCrae wrote it on 3 May 1915, after presiding over the funeral of friend and fellow soldier Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, who died in the Second Battle of Ypres. I don’t remember particularly relating to his words, or even poppies. After the past few days, after seeing “row on row” of soldiers who died, after walking in the trenches and “between the crosses,” this poem symbolizes so much more to me today. (more…)