Monday, November 10, 2014

In Flanders Fields, Remembrance Day, 2014

At the Tallis Choir presentation, Songs of War & Remembrance, in which our own Tiff sings Alto, they performed a choral version of the poem In Flanders Fields, by John McCrae (1872-1918). I thought I would share the introduction to that poem from the playbill.

"No other war in history has produced more soldier poets than the First World War. The stupefying paralysis of the Trenches made imaginations soar above the abyss. Perhaps the most famous English poem, In Flanders Fields, was written by a Canadian soldier, John McCrae. Forced by the sheer magnitude of the casualties to bury his best friend himself, McCrae mused that the brilliant blood-red French poppies seemed to spring up in profusion on the unmarked graves. Its greatest popularity was in Canada where grieving families were denied the graves of their sons and planted poppies and wore freshly-cut blooms in their lapels in remembrance. Their profusion today around November 11 recalls a time when every family had a death to remember."

The poem:

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.

Wikipedia credits the public domain handwritten poem as being obtained from

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