Friday, July 10, 2009

Spring Wheat With Poppies #1

5"x7" Oil on Canvas Board

I first saw the common red (corn) Poppy while in Europe. They are in the fields in the early spring. I was able to order some seeds this spring and will sow them this fall. I'm looking forward to their arrival next spring. I had always called them Flanders Poppies and can remember small ones being sold for a donation on Memorial Day when I was a child. It has been a long time since I have seen them.
This memory drove me to research the story behind their name. It seems that after a major war red poppies seem to pop up in the battlefields and soldiers graves. The heavy turning of the soil from the battle and bombardment keeps the soil turned over and the dormant seeds sprout. The most detailed example of this occurred on Flanders Field, Belgium. A Major John McCrae wrote a poem after experiencing the death of a friend and former student. The poem "In Flanders Fields" was nearly not published.Major McCrae threw it away and it was picked up and submitted by a fellow officer.The last line of the poem is most telling;

" If you break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields."
Lest we not forget those who have given their all for our freedom.


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