Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Memorial Day: To Mark Their Place

This is the great poem I learned as a boy each Remembrance Day in Canada. I reproduce it here for Memorial Day.

Second Battle of Ypres, 1915

In Flanders Field
Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)

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.


Chris J. said...

I have been a great fan of A. E. Houseman (1859 - 1936) for many years, he writes often of soldiers and the sacrifice they make. Here is one of my favorites.


When I would muse in boyhood
The wild green woods among,
And nurse resolves and fancies
Because the world was young,
It was not foes to conquer,
Nor sweethearts to be kind,
But it was friends to die for
That I would seek and find.

I sought them and I found them,
The sure, the straight, the brave,
The hearts I lost my own to,
The souls I could not save.
They braced their belts around them,
They crossed in ships the sea,
They sought and found six feet of ground,
And there they died for me.

David C. Innes said...

If more poetry were like this poetry, I would read a lot more poetry.

Chris J. said...

I was fortunate to have been introduced to A. E. Houseman early on, otherwise I probably would not have read as much poetry. He writes often of the difficulty of life, of death, and the good moments to be savored. He was also a perfectionist who I have heard destroyed more poems than he published, if he felt they were not good enough. Here's a link to my favorite, if you're interested: