Armistice Day 100 years remembrance – poems

wp_20181111_002There’s red poppies EVERYWHERE!
Towns and villages have sprouted them, made of glass, or yarn, pottery or wood – they flow down walls, dot verges, surround memorials.

Four years ago, marking the century-old start of what became to be known as World War One, or The Great War, or (unquestionably wrongly) The War to End All Wars, we, as a poetry group wrote a number of works on this theme.

So, today I’ll share some of mine: The first reminds me that we (our WI) used to ‘sell’ poppies door to door – until the year members were upset so much by reactions that it stopped. Partly because of this, I had researched the ‘peace poppy’ thinking it a recent innovation – only to find it was as old as the war – and much misunderstood. Now red-poppies are back in vogue I think it continues to be.

By any other colour   (the peace poppy)

Perhaps they should have picked another colour
to that of the shame-filled feather;
those war widows and war weary veterans
who would have agreed with Owen’s poem
‘Dulce et decorum est’ if they’d understood Latin,

Perhaps then they’d not have been spat upon
sacked and shunned, just for wanting
peace over everything and wearing it,
a sign they wanted it to really be the end
with no disrespect intended.

Perhaps they should just have paused
eighty-odd years, by which time selling poppies
meant slammed doors, even in rural villages
and indifference meant few came
when the Remembrance bugle called.

Perhaps poppies, white or red, or even
remembering the dead, does nothing, for
a hundred-years on from ‘the one to end all’
governments still wave the patriotic flag
and world-wide, still make war.

 

The next I’m going to share with you is short and, possibly, the one most people liked when it was first performed.

How to Grow Poppies

For flowers in abundance
row after row, whole
landscapes turned crimson, first
turn the soil.
Digging trenches works well.
Poppies thrive in open spaces,
the removal of trees and other shade
is recommended.
Fertilize well, blood and bone is best.
Water in, a long winter of rain at least,
and leave … nature will do the rest.

 

I’ll leave you with a final Peace Poppy poem, mainly because I believe that the World needs Peace more now than ever. Wars and conflict are driving poverty and migration across continents, which is driving further right-wing and extremist movements. The Map of War and Conflicts LINK HERE   is frightening – and the refugees and the human misery these are creating affects us all.

 

Peace Poppies

They are white,
white like the feather
dished out to any man
deemed to be fit
but not fighting

They are white,
like the bones
of the sixteen
thousand conchies
who died at the front

They are white,
like the rain-washed faces
of the dead and injured
they rescued from
no-mans land

They are white
a bloom to remember
peace and the peaceful
who’d not kill
but not shirk

They are white
when all others are red
misunderstood today
as much as when
they came to be

They are white
or they are red to
remember and honour
not the war, not the glory
only the sacrifice.

 

Off to the Remembrance service now  🙂 with my red poppy on – and a lovely Cornish badge made locally and sold for the RBL complete with poppy and dove of peace – as in the picture above.

Any thoughts – all welcome

Best Ann

Sharing:

Enjoyed this blog? Please share :)