In elementary school, we had to memorize poems.  We’d write them (to practice our penmanship) then memorize them and stand before the class and recite them.  This was supposed to aid in teaching elocution, poise, and presence when speaking in public.  In Flanders Fields was one of those poems.  Who has seen the Wind? was another.  There was a third whose title I can’t remember though I remember some of the lines,  “…The goldenrod is yellow, the leaves are turning brown; The trees in apple orchards with fruit are hanging…”

In Flanders Fields stuck with me and I’ve often thought about those lines, on Memorial Day, if and when I watched a movie about war.  I'm not certain of the date it was written but I always thought of it as being composed just after the First World War, the one called the Great War and the War to End All Wars, though that, sadly, has become a misnomer/  Nevertheless, it’s appropriate to bring it out today and let it sit alongside my blog about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier:

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.

7 comments

  1. Nightingale // May 28, 2012 at 11:23 AM  

    Thanks for sharing the poem. It's been a long time since I read In Flanders Fields.

  2. Beth Trissel // May 28, 2012 at 1:35 PM  

    A very touching and beautiful poem. One I haven't heard in ages. Thanks.

  3. Mary Ricksen // May 28, 2012 at 1:59 PM  

    Isn't war a damn shame...
    If only women ran things!
    I read that more then 50% of those coming back from war are ending up on disability, due to trauma!
    Seems almost an afterthought when vets are considered. Where is the emotional help they need. They weren't brought up to kill. How could it not mess them up?

  4. Autumn Jordon // May 28, 2012 at 2:22 PM  

    Beautiful, Toni. I get goosies each time I hear that poem. Thank you for sharing today.

  5. Patrice // May 28, 2012 at 3:21 PM  

    Strong, Powerful words. Thanks Toni, for sharing. I never knew all the words.

  6. Pamela Varnado // May 28, 2012 at 9:16 PM  

    Toni, thanks for reminding us how important Memorial Day really is. The cost of freedom is steep.

  7. Josie // June 3, 2012 at 8:41 AM  

    In Flanders Field is a touching poem and a beautiful tribute to fallen soldiers everywhere.