In Flanders Fields: And Other Poems of the First World War by Brian BusbyThis anthology is a little different from others in that the men who wrote the poems would rather not have had their work published here. In order to have a poem published in this mix you had to satisfy two criteria: 1) you had to write about WWI; and 2) you had to have died during that conflict. The editor was able to find thirty such poets!
Some of the names in here will be instantly familiar. Names like John McCrae, who penned what is probably the most easily recognizable WWI poem In Flanders Fields. And Wilfred Owen, whose Dulce et Decorum Est could be a contender for best WWI poem. And Joyce Kilmer! Jesus, Joyce Kilmer!! I had no idea! I remember memorizing his poem Trees in grade school. I had no idea he had been killed in the Great War. Hell, I had no idea he was even a man, as I had never met anyone by name of Joyce who had the biological requirements for manhood.
I wont go into any quotes from poems, as the subject matter will be predictable: death, lost friends, wonder whos kissing her now, cruel enemies and blundering bosses. Most of the poetry I had encountered before in other publications. What got me was this: WWI wasted the lives of what was probably the most literate generation ever to stalk the planet. I was shocked to learn that not less than six world-class poets died in the Battle of the Somme alone! Six!! In one battle! At least as many died at Ypres, but since there were something like three battles for Ypres that statistic may be less staggering. I doubt that one soldier in ten serving today would be able to read and understand the sentiments these doomed wordsmiths consigned to paper. Thirty doomed poets in this book, and its just a sampling.
Mr Busby was kind enough to illustrate his book with WWI artwork, and generously provided both an Index of Titles and an Index of First Lines. Best of all, he provided a brief biography of each poet including place and manner of death. A nice little book, well-planned and very nicely laid out.
John McCrae's War: In Flanders Fields
In Flanders Fields
These notes were contributed by members of the GradeSaver community. This is seen through the motif of passing on the torch. This is clearly seen in the optimistic quote "To you we throw the torch; be yours to hold it high. The poems convey the tragic loss of life in war. They focus on soldiers who were once fit, healthy and eager to serve, who tragically died in service. This is apparent in haunting quotes such as "We are the Dead.
Posted by Dr. Ingrid Kerkhoff Sep 4, Poetry 0. Why the poppies? The poem appeared anonymously in Punch on December 8, For more information about McCrae see John Peddie. Alexis Helmer, who was killed in the battle of Ypres. War poetry in former time had been largely celebratory, an exercise in patriotism.
Despite the passage of time, Canadian Lt. McCrae, who was born and raised in Guelph, Ont. He was inspired to write his famous poem in May , after the combat death of a close friend, Lieut. Alexis Helmer. The simple, clear emotions contained in his text could apply to anyone suffering a loss, said Fraser. Part of the efforts to address that gap in understanding is a plaque unveiled by the Ontario Heritage Trust on Thursday in Guelph. When it eventually came to light that McCrae was the one who had penned the text, he found himself at the centre of attention, with many soldiers requesting handwritten copies of the poem.
The suffering and death he witnessed in the war became the subject of many of his poems, including "In Flanders Fields," perhaps the most famous Canadian.
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Inspiration for “In Flanders Fields”
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McCrae later became a casualty of the war, dying in January However his poem has endured as a symbol of the sacrifice of those who fought during the First World War and is particularly identified with the losses around the Ypres salient. 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.
He was inspired to write it on May 3, , after presiding over the funeral of friend and fellow soldier Lieutenant Alexis Helmer , who died in the Second Battle of Ypres. According to legend, fellow soldiers retrieved the poem after McCrae, initially dissatisfied with his work, discarded it. It is one of the most quoted poems from the war. As a result of its immediate popularity, parts of the poem were used in efforts and appeals to recruit soldiers and raise money selling war bonds. Its references to the red poppies that grew over the graves of fallen soldiers resulted in the remembrance poppy becoming one of the world's most recognized memorial symbols for soldiers who have died in conflict. The poem and poppy are prominent Remembrance Day symbols throughout the Commonwealth of Nations , particularly in Canada, where "In Flanders Fields" is one of the nation's best-known literary works.