In Flanders Fields, by John McCrae (Remembrance Day 2022)

In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae

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.

Today is November 11th, Remembrance Day in Britain and the Commonwealth.  It is a day for remembering the end of World War I and the men and women who gave their lives in all wars.  During the two weeks leading up to Remembrance Day it is customary to wear a poppy on the left breast in honour of the fallen.  This tradition sprung from this poem, “In Flanders Fields,” written by Canadian Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae upon the death of his friend.

My sister and I are selling hand-crafted felt poppies patterned after the real flower.  They are available for purchase on our Etsy shop, Aval House.  $2 from each purchase will be donated to the Royal Canadian Legion, an organization that supports Veterans and their families.  You can join us by clicking here (available only from the last Friday in October until November 11).

It is also customary on Remembrance Day to play the Last Post, followed by a moment of silence and the Rouse.  A recording of the Last Post and Rouse can be found here, if you wish to participate.

Past Remembrance Day poems

2 thoughts on “In Flanders Fields, by John McCrae (Remembrance Day 2022)

  1. I Sit and Sew
    I sit and sew—a useless task it seems,
    My hands grown tired, my head weighed down with dreams—
    The panoply of war, the martial tread of men,
    Grim-faced, stern-eyed, gazing beyond the ken
    Of lesser souls, whose eyes have not seen Death
    Nor learned to hold their lives but as a breath—
    But—I must sit and sew.
    I sit and sew—my heart aches with desire—
    That pageant terrible, that fiercely pouring fire
    On wasted fields, and writhing grotesque things
    Once men. My soul in pity flings
    Appealing cries, yearning only to go
    There in that holocaust of hell, those fields of woe—
    But—I must sit and sew. —
    The little useless seam, the idle patch;
    Why dream I here beneath my homely thatch,
    When there they lie in sodden mud and rain,
    Pitifully calling me, the quick ones and the slain?
    You need, me, Christ! It is no roseate seam
    That beckons me—this pretty futile seam,
    It stifles me—God, must I sit and sew?
    —Alice Dunbar-Nelson


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