Bryan Hemming

short stories, comment, articles, humour and photography



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

John McCrae, 1915

The poem that inspired Poppy Day itself was inspired by the death of a comrade on the poppy fields of Flanders. Despite the element of glorification in the last verse, it has to be remembered the soldiers and civilians who survived the very first world war all knew death. Family members, friends and work mates from all countries involved, were affected in some way or other. War does not distinguish between friend or foe, not grown-up, child or baby. When seen in light of recent loss, the sentiments appear more understandable. But it happened almost one hundred years ago.

Though November 11th 2018 will mark the centenery of the end of WW1, British politicians and the media can’t wait. They have decided to bathe in the glory of the blood of others by celebrating the centenery of the start of WW1 in 1914. A war that ended only after the loss of more than 37 million lives. They approach the task like we all need something to be cheerful about.

This is a highly cynical move when wider war appears to be looming. It is also an insult to all those who suffer, or have suffered, as a result of any war.

The start of war is a date to be remembered, not celebrated or comemmorated.

This post is intended as a mark of respect for all victims of all wars.


6 comments on “Peace

  1. Pingback: Reflections on the Great War #2 | From guestwriters

  2. rangewriter
    November 9, 2014

    This is a great post and meaningful commentary. How naive we were back then, to think that this war would be the war to end all wars. Were it only so,

    Liked by 1 person

  3. auntyuta
    November 9, 2014

    Last year on the 11th Nov at 11 I happened to be in a shopping centre. Everyone stopped in whatever they were doing. Standing still we listened to the hauntingly beautiful music. It became a very emotional moment for me and I shed some tears.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. colltales
    November 8, 2014

    Oh, so aching beautiful. Seems like that you’re memorializing someone. Hope it all come to a peaceful spot inside. Best


    • Bryan Hemming
      November 8, 2014

      Since posting I’ve added the poem of a soldier, who fought in WW1.

      Not sure whether it’s the same in the States, but every year Remembrance Day, the second Sunday of November, is the time to buy poppies as a mark of repect for the fallen soldiers of two world wars in the UK.

      I don’t particularly agree with much of the nationalistic and militaristic sentiment behind it, but I do think all the dead, of all nations, and from all wars, should be remembered the world over on a special day.

      Liked by 2 people

      • colltales
        November 8, 2014

        That’s right, I should’ve known. It’s an European date, but Tue is Veterans Day here, so there’s some kind of equivalence. Suddenly, read fresh, with no background info, it’s easier to capture the poem’s haunting images. Thanks for that.

        Liked by 1 person

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