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John McCrae

(30 November 1872 – 28 January 1918 / Guelph, Ontario)

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In Flanders Field


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.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Bronze Star - 6,718 Points * Sunprincess * (6/18/2014 10:03:00 AM)

    ..............so beautiful is the imagery in this write.....may all those souls rest in peace forever......an incredible piece of poetry... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Jema Lou (11/22/2013 11:07:00 AM)

    They said that this poem was written write after John McCrae's friend died in battle. The poem signifies a lot of things one of the reasons why I liked it. This is great piece of poetry I for one assure that to anybody who have not read it yet. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Jonathan Topp (11/20/2013 6:20:00 AM)

    Those who fought and died have passed to us the cause for which we fight. The dead do not rest until victory is won. It is our obligation to fight for our cause, and should we perish, pass on the torch until victory is won. (Report) Reply

    Rookie - 261 Points Stephen W (8/4/2014 5:06:00 AM)

    What cause is that? Rival empires fought WW1.

  • Rookie - 204 Points Jack Growden (8/4/2013 4:21:00 AM)

    One of my all time favourite poems! ! Please read my collection! I am a young, aspiring poet. Feel free to rate and comment on my pieces. Thanks, Jack Growden (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 3 Points Bryan Baker (1/21/2013 9:02:00 PM)

    McCrae, a surgeon on the Western Front, wrote this in 1915 when the terrible slaughter was already taking place, and yet in the third stanza he tells us he wants it to continue. Instead of advocating peace and an end to the senseless waste of lives, the dead are telling those who take their place to continue the carnage. How did a poem expressing such insane sentiments achieve the stature that it enjoys today. In the words of the doctor at the end of Bridge on the River Kwai, Madness! (Report) Reply

    Rookie - 261 Points Stephen W (8/4/2014 5:02:00 AM)

    Well said. An end to warmongering. Lunatic violence has returned to East Europe as we speak.

  • Rookie Hilary Hawkins (1/8/2013 9:35:00 AM)

    Someone just does not get it! First of all the British did not start that war, but by jove we ended it, what would you rather we did? give up to the enemy? your stark staring bonkers...and btw we did not use mustard gas unlike the enemy ! ! ! We will never break faith with all our brave Soldiers. John McCrae got it right, spot on! (Report) Reply

    Rookie - 261 Points Stephen W (8/4/2014 3:38:00 PM)

    We did use poison gas, though Germany used it first. Russia was first to mobilise, though probably out of fear. The deep cause of the war, imo, was the unsound hereditary system of government.

    Rookie - 261 Points Stephen W (8/4/2014 3:33:00 PM)

    We certainly did use poison gas, though Germany used it first. to great outrage. Many of our brave soldiers came to regret joining up. It is far from clear who started the war, though Russia was first to mobilise, possibly because their mobilisation process took a long time, and they feared to fall behind. It is not clear why the war continued so long and then ended indecisively. Not much was accomplished except destruction.

  • Rookie Emily Smith (5/22/2012 9:15:00 AM)

    I am sure Englishness is not a word! This poem is very true, John McCrae wrote this after his best friend Alexis Helmer was killed in World War One. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Carlos Echeverria (3/8/2012 10:45:00 AM)

    I don't believe In Flanders Fields is a pro-war poem; nor is it anti-war, it acknowledges the reality of war as a part of the human condition. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Sylva Portoian (3/9/2010 4:45:00 AM)

    Flanders’ Poppies and Armenian Genocide

    People remember their wars,
    Never feel with others.
    Armenian Genocide was not a war
    But a real raping slaying with scimitars.

    Not recognized, yet by the English race
    Only by Welsh and Scots.
    So tell me was the Flanders poem
    True or False!

    If you’re English,
    Don't protect your Englishness,
    But the fairness!

    Scars can’t be forgotten
    Remains scars transmitted as genes
    From ancestry to ancestries...

    Accumulates to be seen as hill
    Like the Armenian skeletons’ hillside
    In the Syrian desert-Der Zor
    After nearly a century
    Remains… Lightening phosphorus.

    My dears,
    If you like to feel like a real human
    You can see all in the Internet. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Joseph Poewhit (3/8/2010 6:28:00 AM)

    Reminded me of the battle of Gettysburg.50,000 more or less killed in three days of fighting. Same as about in Viet Nam through years.. Some wars have a cause, which men fight. GOD, destroyed the Egyptian army in the Red Sea. Good to have GOD on your side in war. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Kevin Straw (3/8/2010 5:57:00 AM)

    This is a stirring pro-war poem. It urges the living to remember the dead and what they died for and to continue the fight. The majority of British soldiers thought the war was a just one. I have a small complaint: given the number of guns firing, it is unlikely that larks would have been flying over the battlefield, and even less likely that they would have been even 'scarce heard'. (Report) Reply

    Rookie Dirk Hennebel (8/5/2014 2:24:00 AM)

    Of course, in poetry anything can happen.

  • Rookie Terence George Craddock (3/8/2010 4:34:00 AM)

    “In Flanders Field” by John McCrae remains one of the most moving and easily remembered WWI poems ever written. The poppies at many ceremonies and at other graveside cemeteries have touched the hearts of millions. Poppies are the official symbolic emblem, used for the ‘Least We Forget’ theme for remembrance services among ANZAC Day parades and for similar purposes by other western armies. Lines like ‘We are the Dead. Short days ago/ We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, ’ are beautifully penned.
    After seventeen days treating injured men in the Ypres salient, surgeon Major McCrae, was particularly affected by the death of a ‘young friend and former student, Lieut. Alexis Helmer’. Helmer was ‘buried later that day in the little cemetery outside McCrae's dressing station, and McCrae had performed the funeral ceremony in the absence of the chaplain.’ McCrae scribbled fifteen lines of verse in a notebook the next day, describing the scene at Helmer's grave.
    ‘Dissatisfied with it, McCrae tossed the poem away, but a fellow officer retrieved it and sent it to newspapers in England. The Spectator, in London, rejected it, but Punch published it on 8 December 1915.’ The poems survival has helped to inspire and teach generations the meaning of sacrifice and the importance of remembrance. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 294 Points Ramesh T A (3/8/2010 12:34:00 AM)

    Cause of the war though not known this poem inspires the continuation of war through the words of the dead soldiers! If cause is mentioned it would have been great to support this poetic output! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Resten Swondo (1/24/2010 4:02:00 AM)

    If one reads Wilfred Owen's Pro Patria Mori Dulce Decorum Est, one cannot but think Owen the saner poet. He conveyed that the public would not be so supportive of the war effort if they saw the terrible deaths of the soldiers they so freely sent to war and threatened with the public disgrace of the white feather. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Anthony Foster (3/8/2009 4:08:00 PM)

    Brilliant, poignant, a sad yet discriptive narative in the past and future. A few well placed words and it is all laid out in front of you. What a poem, what a poet, who is able to deliver and inspire. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Edith Oram (3/8/2008 12:37:00 PM)

    Immortal words to commemorate those immortal heroes, not only of WW1 but of all subsequent wars past and present, who lay their lives on the line for freedom and justice. God bless them all and God bless this wonderful poet. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Julie Miner (11/1/2007 4:25:00 PM)

    I was at Vimy for the rededication cermony last year and visited 2 war cemetaries. Both had words of this poem in stone. It was more moving than ever (Report) Reply

Read all 23 comments »

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