November 11, 2009

Hump Day Poetry: Veterans Day Edition

Posted in History, Poetry at 10:19 am by The Lizard Queen

In Flanders Fields

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.

—Lt.-Col. John McCrae (1872-1918), published 1915

(I feel I should note that I agree with Paul Fussell’s criticism, mentioned on the poem’s Wikipedia page (linked above), that the third stanza is problematic and doesn’t quite seem to fit with the first two.  Still, the poem has attained a significance for this holiday that seems to transcend its arguable literary or political merits, so I thought I’d post it all the same.)


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