Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lest We Forget

I listened to my 7 year old son recite the first verse of this poem and next thing I knew, my vision blurred with tears.
Let's pray that our youth never know the experience of a battlefield.
Let's hope our children do a better job with tolerance, knowledge and understanding that we have done.

In Flanders field 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 with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Doctor Major (later Lieutenant-Colonel) John McCrae (b. Guelph, Ontario) of the 1st Field Artillery Brigade wrote this poem on May 3, 1915 after the battle at Ypres.

Oh! You who sleep in Flanders’ fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew,
We caught the torch you threw,
And holding high we kept
The faith with those who died.
We cherish too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valour led.

It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders’ fields.

And now the torch and poppy red
Wear in honour of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught
We’ve learned the lesson that ye taught
In Flanders’ fields.

Written by Miss Moina Belle Michael, an American, on Nov 9, 1918, the Saturday before the Armistice was signed. She read John McCrae's poem, In Flanders Fields and it made such an impression on her that she wrote this in reply.



Susan Helene Gottfried said...

"Than we have done"??? Wylie, my love, we're MOMs. We're not done yet! Our kids are works-in-progress, and we moms are doing our best work right now, teaching those kids that different is okay (and even desirable) and that being ruled by fear isn't.

Keep up the good work, babydoll.

Red Garnier said...

Sniffle, sniffle.

Wylie these are beautiful. ;)

Amy Ruttan said...

I always cry when I read these. Lest we forget.

julia said...

I'm tearing up, too. Thanks for posting those two poems back to back. I've never read the second one.

My favourite lines from 'In Flander's Field' have always been:
'We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow'

These lines from 'We Shall Keep The Faith' really moved me:
'Sleep sweet - to rise anew,
We caught the torch you threw,
And holding high we kept
The faith with those who died.'

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. *sniff* Yes, we must remember always.

I've given you an award, my friend! :) When you get a chance, come to my blog and see. :)

Rhian said...

i hadn't heard these - absolutely gorgeous and tear jerking. Like Jill i was really moved by the "We are the dead..." stanza.

Jill said...

Great poem, thank for sharing. We should alway remember what those people have done for our country!

Rhian, stop thinking about me!! You meant Julia!!

Ann said...

I posted one of Rupert Brooke's poems today in honor of those who fell in that war.

Missy said...

Wonderful poems, thanks for sharing. I'm too emotional to say anything else.

gautami tripathy said...

You have made os all emotional todays. Flowing tears are saying it all...

Rhian said...

oops - yeah, i meant Julia.i'm easily confused by the letter "J"