Interesting Literature

An introduction to one of the most famous poems of WWI

Although the association between fields of poppies and commemorating the war dead predates the First World War, the war-poppies connection was certainly popularised by WWI and in particular by this John McCrae poem, ‘In Flanders Fields’. John McCrae (1872-1918), a Canadian lieutenant colonel, was inspired to write it after he conducted the burial service for an artillery officer, Alexis Helmer, who had been killed in the conflict. In the chaplain’s absence, McCrae, as the company doctor, presided over the burial of the young man.

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.

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