“In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae

11/10/2012

 field of poppies

In Flanders Fields, signedIn 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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In Flanders Fields McCrae memorial

Inscription of the complete poem in a bronze “book” at the John McCrae memorial at his birthplace in Guelph, Ontario, Canada (Source: Wikipedia)

John Alexander McCrae (November 30, 1872 – January 28, 1918) was a Canadian poet, physician, author, artist and soldier during World War I and a surgeon during the Second Battle of Ypres. He is best known for writing the famous war memorial poem “In Flanders Fields”.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae wrote it on May 3, 1915, the day after he witnessed the death of his friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, who was 22 years old. The poem was first published in December of that year in the London-based magazine Punch.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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a poppy is to remember coverReview by Marya Jansen-Gruber, of the children’s book “A Poppy Is To Remember” at Through The Looking Glass

Excerpt: “This beautifully and simply written book draws our attention to why we recognize this day, how the poppy became a symbol of remembrance, and it tells the story of one special young man who wrote a poem which has moved generations of people with its beauty and eloquence. Ron Lightburn’s unaffected and often luminous oil paintings compliment the text very well.”

Click here to visit the Amazon.ca page for this lovely children’s book about John McCrae and his powerful poem.

8 responses to “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae

  1. 
    mike and brandy 11/10/2012 at 8:05 pm

    “We are the Dead”

    reminds me of ayn rand in The Anthem

  2. 

    Gina,
    This is one of the poems that I memorized in elementary school. I’m certain that I didn’t understand it at the time. But reading it here, years later, it touches a deep place in my heart. Being married to a wonderful man who served in Vietnam and also reading about war, seeing films about it, hearing first-hand the experiences of those who have served, this poem is a powerful reminder of that unimaginable experience. Thank you.
    Love,
    Cathy

    • 

      Hello Cathy,
      Thank you for this touching comment. I know what you mean about not understanding this in our youth, which is why I wanted to include the children’s book. It may help younger people to more fully understand why we need to remember. It deepens our gratitude and respect to understand that freedom isn’t free. Soldiers, and their loved ones, have paid dearly. I am so thankful that your beloved Peter made it safely through so he can now be at your side, sharing life. I give my thanks to him, as I do all who have served, and may they feel deeply appreciated on this sacred day.
      Love,
      Gina

  3. 

    I plan to share this poem with my fifth graders tomorrow. Thank you!

  4. 

    This is a poem that I have loved since the first time I read it many years ago. May the torch to which it refers become the torch of a just and enduring peace built on kindness and understanding, and may that torch never go out and ever be passed on to each succeeding generation.

    Russ