The poem “In Flanders Fields” is perhaps the best known poem to come out of World War One. It was written by a doctor during the Second Battle of Ypres.
Canadian military physician Major John McCrae was serving as brigade doctor when his friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, was killed. The chaplain was engaged elsewhere so McCrae was asked to conduct the funeral.
The poem is believed to have been composed at the Essex Farm Advanced Dressing Station on May 3, 1915. Dealing with his grief, McCrae sat near an ambulance and wrote a poem about the view before him. He showed the poem to a young soldier delivering mail, but not satisfied with the poem threw it away. Another officer retrieved and encouraged McCrae to submit it to magazines.
It was published in December 1915 in the British magazine Punch.
Although the poem was not McCrae’s first, it is his most famous.
McCrae rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel, and he was in command of No. 3 Canadian General Hospital when he died of pneumonia in January 1918.
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, 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. (Source: Great War)
What do you think is the impact of “In Flanders Fields”? Leave a comment below.
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