The Saratoga Sun -

Poppies in prose

The poems and the stories that gave a flower new symbolic life


November 6, 2019

On May 2 in 1915, Canadian poet John McCrae’s close friend and former student Alexis Helmer was killed by a German shell in World War I.

Composed at the battlefront on May 3, 1915 during the second battle of Ypres, Belgium, this poem became the basis for poppies being the flower symbolically used to honor the war dead.

In Flanders Fields

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,


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