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Lest We Forget, Poppy Fields and A Poem

11 Nov

It’s November 11th, Armistice Day, and we remember all those who died in all wars, soldiers and civilians, in the past and those ongoing. We continue to support those who work for peace.

Poppy field in Doncaster June 2010

Poppy field in Doncaster June 2010

Poppy from that field

Poppy from that field

I find this poem by a German poet, Georg Trakl, very moving. The waste of war, the tragedy, the dreadful contrast with natural beauty are all here, affecting all those involved, whichever side they are fighting for. The last line gives me shivers.

Grodek

At evening the autumn woodlands ring
With deadly weapons. Over the golden plains
And lakes of blue, the sun
More darkly rolls. The night surrounds
Warriors dying and the wild lament
Of their fragmented mouths.
Yet silently there gather in the willow combe
Red clouds inhabited by an angry god,
Shed blood, and the chill of the moon.
All roads lead to black decay.
Under golden branching of the night and stars
A sister’s shadow sways through the still grove
To greet the heroes’ spirits, the bloodied heads.
And softly in the reeds Autumn’s dark flutes resound.
O prouder mourning! – You brazen altars,
The spirit’s hot flame is fed now by a tremendous pain:
The grandsons, unborn.

Georg Trakl
You may also like this post from Remembrance Day last year where there is another beautiful poem.  Click on the red link.
 

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14 responses to “Lest We Forget, Poppy Fields and A Poem

  1. mixedupmeme

    November 12, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    Sometimes it seems we only remember on certain days. And sometimes our remembrance occasions are so full of ceremony and not sincerity. I prefer quiet reflection as another commenter said.
    The poppy fields are beautiful.

     
  2. Maureen Jenner

    November 12, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Truly beautiful and thought provoking.

    My late father was eighteen on the 11th of November 1918, so my grandmother was spared seeing her oldest son conscripted as a soldier. So many sacrificed for no good reason.

    Oh the stupidity of all that warmongering when set against the nobility of those sacrificed. Thank you for sharing the words and the picture; both unforgettable,

     
  3. Heidi @ lightlycrunchy

    November 11, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    I’ve never seen an entire field of poppies. I would probably think of In Flander Fields as soon as I saw it. Beautiful.

     
  4. john zande

    November 11, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Indeed. Sally, did you ever see the very last scene of the last episode of Black Adder?

     
    • mybeautfulthings

      November 11, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      I did – and what a powerful ending that was. I used it when teaching war poetry and literature with my 16 year olds too. Stunning – and then the silence…..

       
      • john zande

        November 11, 2013 at 5:00 pm

        This piece has always sat with me, too.

        “The operating room was ablaze… The place by one o’clock in the morning was a shambles. The air was thick with steaming sweat. It was my business to sort out the wounded as they were brought in from the ambulances and to keep them from dying before they got to the operating room. …If I made a mistake, some would die on their stretchers on the floor under my eyes who need not have died. It was all, you see, a dream. The dying men on the floor were drowned men cast up on the beach, and there was the ebb of life pouring over them, sucking them away like an invisible tide. There were chests with holes as big as your fists, and stumps were legs were once fastened. There were eyes, blind eyes, and parts of faces; the nose gone or the jaw. There were these things, but no men. I thought, this is the second battle field. The battle now is going on over the helpless bodies of these men, and it is we who are doing the fighting now, with their real enemies. ”

        — Mary Borden, from her memoirs, The Forbidden Zone

         
        • mybeautfulthings

          November 11, 2013 at 8:53 pm

          John, that is so graphic and so moving. Thank you so much for spending the time to give me this. I shall look up Mary Borden. Thank you again.

           
  5. Dilip

    November 11, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Beautiful picture and a lovely poem! Many good wishes 🙂

     
    • mybeautfulthings

      November 11, 2013 at 8:55 pm

      Thank you. Many good wishes to you too. 🙂

       
  6. Hudson Howl

    November 11, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    lost in silent reflection…thank you

     
  7. absengeralois

    November 11, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    Wonderful! Kind regards from Austria.

     
    • mybeautfulthings

      November 20, 2013 at 8:49 pm

      Thank you for calling in and for taking the time to comment. 🙂

       
  8. Colline

    November 11, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Such a beautiful photograph.

     
  9. Don

    November 11, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Wonderful poem. Very moving. The poppy field is exquisite.

     

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