Although more synonymous with Remembrance Day in November each year, here in Provence we exhult in the red poppy legacy as they start to cover the many fields that scatter throughout the countryside and lie side by side with regimented vine and fruit fields.

The legacy is clouded as to why the red poppy, so revered as a symbol of World War1 supposedly turned from being a ‘white poppy’ into red. The story goes that the blood soaked Flanders fields, churned up by the soldiers boots which caused the seeds to propagate, stained the white petals red – and from this day forth, we commemorate wars and other violent clashes with the red poppy of peace and remembrance.

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In 1915, at a Canadian dressing station north of Ypres in France an exhausted physician named Lt. Col. John McCrae would take in the view of the poppy strewn Salient and experience a moment of artistic inspiration. The veteran of the South African War was able to distill in a single vision the vitality of the red poppy symbol, his respect for the sacrifice made by his patients and dead comrades, and his intense feeling of obligation to them. McCrae would capture all of this in the most famous single poem of the First World War, In Flanders Fields.

In Flanders Fields
By John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row by row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard among 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 yea break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

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Comments

One Response to “In Fields the Poppies Grow”

  1. forex robot on July 28th, 2010 2:53 pm

    found your site on del.icio.us today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later

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