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.

November 11th: Sending out invisible, constant currents does immense good

armory-square-hospital

Devoted the main part of the day, from 11 to 3.30 o’clock, to Armory-square hospital; went pretty thoroughly through wards F, G, H, and I — some fifty cases in each ward. In Ward H supplied the men throughout with writing paper and a stamped envelope each, also some cheerful reading matter. […]

My custom is to go through a ward, or a collection of wards, endeavoring to give some trifle to each, without missing any. Even a sweet biscuit, a sheet of paper, or a passing word of friendliness, or but a look or nod, if no more. In this way I go through large numbers without delaying, yet do not hurry. I find out the general mood of the ward at the time; sometimes see that there is a heavy weight of listlessness prevailing, and the whole ward wants cheering up. I perhaps read to the men, to break the spell… […]

He who goes among the soldiers with gifts, etc., must beware how he proceeds. It is much more of an art than one would imagine. They are not charity-patients, but American young men, of pride and independence. The spirit in which you treat them, and bestow your donations, is just as important as the gifts themselves; sometimes more so. […]

To many of the wounded and sick, especially the youngsters, there is something in personal love, caresses, and the magnetic flood of sympathy and friendship, that does, in its way, more good than all the medicine in the world… Many will think this merely sentimentalism, but I know it is the most solid of facts. I believe that even the moving around among the men, or through the ward, of a hearty, healthy, clean, strong, generous-souled person, man or woman, full of humanity and love, sending out invisible, constant currents thereof, does immense good to the sick and wounded.

~ Walt Whitman, recounted his wartime experience in a diaristic piece titled “Hospital Visits,” published in The New York Times in December of 1864


Source: Quote – Brainpickings. Passage found in Walt Whitman: Poetry and Prose. Photo: Armory Square Hospital (1865)

Lest we forget…

Remembrance Day, November 11, Veterans Day


In a tribute to our Veterans on Veterans Day in the U.S. and Remembrance Day in Canada, here is Eva Cassidy with her beautiful and moving rendition of Danny Boy.

↓ click for audio (Eva Cassidy – “Danny Boy”)

…But when ye come and all the roses falling,
And I am dead, as dead I well may be,
Go out and find the place where I am lying,
And kneel and say an Ave there for me.

And I will hear tho’ soft your tread above me,
And then my grave will warm and sweeter be.
For you shall bend and tell me that you love me,
And I will sleep in peace until you come to me.


Image Source: Lemonzers

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