Thursday, November 09, 2006

In Flanders Fields

In Britain and the Commonwealth the symbol of war remembrance is the Red Poppy. However I see that a Christian Group, Ekklesia suggests that we should actually wear the pacifist white poppy to avoid glorification of war that the Red Poppy might represent.

I have no quarrel with those who choose to wear white poppies, but I find it hard to equate John Macrae's poem with the glorification of war. I attended University on John Macrae's home town of Guelph, Ontario- yes Macrae was a Canadian- so perhaps I feel a bit closer to the poem.

I still think the message that the poem sends is a message of humanity amidst the slaughter and the death. I leave it for you to judge for yourselves:

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.

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