Wednesday, November 11, 2009

THE FLANDERS POPPY

This past Sunday it was Remembrance Sunday in England. A day on which those who died in the great wars are remembered. Remembrance day or Veterans day as it is know in the US is November 11th and at 11am on this day the country observes two minutes silence to remember those who died in the wars. November 11th at 11am is the moment at which the First World War came to an end. In England the Flanders or corn poppy, Papaver rhoeas, has become the flower synonymous with remembering those who have died for their country.

Corn poppies grow wild in my garden every year. Their seeds brought up from the deep as I work the soil, just like those of the poppies which grow in the fields at Ypres. They were disturbed by the the building of trenches and the artillary attacks.
In 1915, Lt Col. John McCrae, a doctor serving with the Canadian forces, wrote this poem in memory of his friend whom he had buried in May 1915. The poem appeared in the December issue of Punch that year. The poppy has become synonymous with the day and in England the poppy is worn in the buttonhole to remember those who lost their lives in the wars.

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.

This fall I planted seeds which came from the poppies in those fields, kindly given by Walt Krueger, one of Austin's Master Gardeners.

Let us all remember those who have given their lives that we might be free.



8 comments:

  1. I did not know that the poppies have this meaning seems to me a beautiful way.

    I love this type of flower, with petals look like silk.
    They are so simple, delicate.

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  2. wow, i did not know all of that. thanks for passing that on. the poppies take on a much more significant meaning now.

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  3. Thanks for sharing this. How many, I wonder, still remember it was the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, that Armistice was signed? That's a beautiful poppy.

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  4. My mama used to always talk about 11/11/11. I love poppies!
    I "hammered" you over on my site. Come see...

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  5. Greg and I have tears in our eyes as we read this. Thank you for such a special and most memorable tribute.

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  6. Poppy Day.
    Interesting to learn more on the significance of the Corn poppy RR. I remember the poem from school, at least I think it was from school. Staying on the subject of war...Do you remember the UK plant we used to call "soldiers buttons"? What is this plant do you know? Do you grow any? I remember it had a series of pink flowers.

    ESP.

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  7. Beautiful post Jenny, I'd love some of those poppy pods to disperse in my garden when they go to seed. Hope to see you tonight at the MG party!

    Cheryl

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