Poetry Friday: In Flanders Fields

In honor of Veteran’s Day next week, here is one of my favorite poems and the one which inspired those red poppies given out on Veteran’s Day.  Did you know the poem was oreginally called “We Shall Not Sleep”?

 Moina Michael, a teacher, read Lt. Col. John McCrae’s poem in a Ladies Home Journal magazine.  She found reading the poem deeply spiritual, as though she was actually being called in person by the voices silenced by death. 

Following the reading, she was determined to make poppies to wear in memory of “all who died in Flanders Fields.” The Auxiliary to the American Legion Convention later agreed that disabled American war veterans could make the poppies sold in the United States, which generated income for veterans who had no other income.  


 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
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
Flanders fields.

 by Lt. Col. John McCrae, M.D 

He who wrote this poem after seeing the poppies growing in Flanders Fields, Belgium, during World War I.  Even though, he threw away the poem; another soldier found it and sent off to the newspaper in London.

 Information about the poem can be found at Arlington National Cemetary .  For more information about Moina Michael, the woman behind the poppies go HERE.

Poetry Friday is hosted today by JoAnn Early Macken at Teaching Authors.

Happy Reading.