POEM OF THE DAY

The Herald - - OBITUARIES - WITH LES­LEY DUN­CAN

THIS sim­ple but sear­ing text, by the Cana­dian sur­geon John Mccrae, has be­come one of the most en­dur­ing and fre­quently quoted po­ems of the First World War. He died of pneu­mo­nia be­fore the end of the war.

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.

Fi­nally, th­ese lines be­low will ring round churches, me­mo­rial parks, and pub­lic places through­out Bri­tain this week­end. The two cen­tral verses from Lau­rence Binyon’s For The Fallen cel­e­brate the heroic na­ture of the First World War’s dead and also their po­si­tion for all pos­ter­ity in the minds and af­fec­tions of their fel­low coun­try­men and women.

from FOR THE FALLEN

They went with songs to the bat­tle, they were young,

Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.

They were staunch to the end against odds un­counted,

They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years con­demn,

At the go­ing down of the sun and in the morn­ing

We will re­mem­ber them.

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