And they blow…

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row…

– Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, from “In Flanders Fields“. It was written during the First World War by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae. He was inspired to write it on May 3, 1915, after presiding over the funeral of friend and fellow soldier Lieutenant Alexis Helmer.

Notes: Source: duchessofostergotlands (via Your Eyes Blaze Out)

Inspired by Carol Ann Duffy’s “The Wound in Time”:

It is the wound in Time. The century’s tides,
chanting their bitter psalms, cannot heal it.
Not the war to end all wars; death’s birthing place;
the earth nursing its ticking metal eggs, hatching
new carnage. But how could you know, brave
as belief as you boarded the boats, singing?
The end of God in the poisonous, shrapneled air.
Poetry gargling its own blood. We sense it was love
you gave your world for; the town squares silent,
awaiting their cenotaphs. What happened next?
War. And after that? War. And now? War. War.
History might as well be water, chastising this shore;
for we learn nothing from your endless sacrifice.
Your faces drowning in the pages of the sea.

~ Carol Ann Duffy, “The Wound in Time.” Carol Ann Duffy, the Poet Laureate, has released a sonnet commemorating the centenary of Armistice Day, 11th November 1918. (Arts In Industry, October 22, 2018).  Duffy reads her poem on BBC here.


  1. A fine poem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And to think the author didn’t agree:

      “But According to legend, fellow soldiers said McCrae retrieved the poem from Helmer’s belongings but initially discarded it. It was recommended he finish it and publish it under his own name. This is why the third paragraph is in a different style of English than the first two. “In Flanders Fields” was first published on December 8 of that year in the London magazine Punch.”

      Liked by 2 people

  2. ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I gladly reread it yearly…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. A fine poem and there is nothing like hearing Leonard Cohen read it.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Like

  6. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    ‘In Flanders fields the poppies blow … Between the crosses, row on row … ‘
    On this very special day!!


  7. Thank you! Way before I was born, my father was one of those WWI pilots. I wrote an article after seeing a photo of a group trudging (marching) along a Princeton main street, and finding my father in that photo. Hobey Baker was among them. I researched and found out what an amazing group of amazing young men these WWI pilots were…among them, the “Lafayette Escadrille.” I couldn’t get it published because I included so many photo’s it became too long. I ended the piece with a poem by Wilfred Owen [cf. Britten’s Requiem].

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lest we forget.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. a (very) G.R.E.A.T post – that voice!!! (C.A. Duffy) – those gifs – everything.
    We had a somewhat ‘special’ Sunday too. We noted that Armistice Day is celebrated very, very much in England where we lived as it is in France where we live now but (maybe sadly) in Switzerland, we learn much less about the importance, except in school it is of course taught amongst history lessons. I read many, many posts and in our small circle of people of the same faith we celebrated first a service with mention – of course – of the Remembrance Day AND at the end the blessing of a mariage. Tears of sadness mixed with tears of joy…. Thank You.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “Birthing death” what graphic and perfect phrasing. It cuts through the useless words that try to describe the indescribable. Poet Laureate indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I always like to be the contrarian. I’ve always had a problem with Flanders Fields. It was written at the start of the war, before human wave attacks, before the bayonet and machine gun, before the gas, before the bloody bloody trenches and stalemate on the Western front.
    It was written well before the 9 million would die.
    The poem appeals for patriotism and devotion to an unnamed cause, that that cause be continued mostly on the merit that a predecessor had died for it.
    I prefer to pick my own quarrels with my own foes!

    Liked by 1 person

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