Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Where have all the poppies gone?

I will be poppy-less on Armistice Day. The poppy lady did not call this year, selling the bright red remembrance of wars long past, and ones still claiming lives. Nor when I went into town this morning were the usual flower sellers there; no tin into which to place a donation, a personal 'thankyou'. Something is very wrong here.

I trawled my photo files for poppies to post; the first I found, amethyst-tinged and silky, paled into insignificance - and yet it is an 'Opium Poppy' far from the fields of Afghanistan where trauma must run rife amongst the brave soldiers.

And then I found this photo taken last year in France - fields of poppies though not in Flanders Fields. They seemed curiously orange, and so I looked at more shots in the 'Poppy' folder and found one of my Shirley poppies blowing in the garden a few years back. So red, the brightest of them.

And whilst I was searching, it brought to mind a poem I wrote in anger last week, hearing of the death of six soldiers in a single day, out there near what I guess may be eastern opium poppy fields (correct me, please, if I am wrong). I was going to post that poem on the day I wrote it, but it coincided with an horrific and unnecessary killing in the USA; I thought it would be insensitive of me to post about my anger on such a day.

And so I offer it now; for tomorrow, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, we remember, stand in silence for two whole minutes and give thanks for all who sacrifice their lives for a more stable and peaceful world.

(One should never write in anger, and these words show that emotion overtook skill. I apologise.)

I realised that all my poppy photos were actually taken to create a collage, transferred to fabric and stitched, with the shapes of the seedheads standing proud. Alas, these too are the double version of the 'Opium Poppy', grown in our garden not for drugs but to utilise in works of art, the seedheads dried for decoration. Every object seems to have multiple uses, and words a double meaning.


  1. It seems that only we older folks remember November 11 at 11 AM.
    War has neer solved anything and still men and now woman are sent to protect an idea and promote corporate greed.

    One life is too many, but over 5000 is a criminal offense.

    Every day I wish that we would focus our efforts in a better quality of living and using the money spent to fight this undeclared war on education, healthcare and renewable energy.

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful photographs of poppies.

  2. thank you for posting such a moving and important reminder of Nov. 11th-- the images and writing are as usual-- wonderful.

  3. How true your sentiments are. And words spoken in anger are sometimes the most effective. Tomorrow I will attend a veterans day remembrance here in the U.S. and take photos of some of the brave people who served during World War II. We also remember here. - Jeanne

  4. The school where I work is having a remembrance day service this morning with two minutes' silence; our experience in the Midlands has been that the traditional poppy day appears to be much more popular that it once was, when they tried to put a stop to it some years back.

  5. Thanks Ann for the reminder.

  6. Ann,
    I don't know why, but your blog is not accepting my posts again! So, here's my comments on your latest post about the poppies and war..... you can copy & post it for me if you wish, sorry I can't do it!

    A thoughtful post and I like the poem... there is a difference between anger that manifests itself into actual conflict and... the writing about indignation and questioning that may stir feelings in others too, to think in a different way...a peaceful way.
    I love the red poppy picture.
    Art blog: http://www.heartfireart.blogspot.com/
    (Emailed by Delorse when her comment wouldn't post, and inserted here with her permission). A

  7. Beautiful flowers and a heart touching poem.. It has brought tears to my eyes.. so much truth it makes me sad.

  8. Please do not apologise for your poem. It is moving and straight to the point.Perhaps you could send it on to the 10 Downing Street website?
    "When will they ever learn?"

  9. Thank you for the comment on our blog. This journey has been such a learning experience for our family. We are thankful Tess is home! We are ready to tackle new challenges with God's help and our wonderful friends and family.
    Your blog is beautiful. I will follow yours as well!

  10. Too many wars and too little peace...how can anyone ever forget, good words from your heart. xxx
    I hope you've finished that cleaning by now ha ha I have.
    Hugs and waves
    Lynn xxxx

  11. Reading your posts my eyes have filled with tears. Tears for, joy having learned the existence of a woman so full of life it spills continually over to bless and encourage others.

    Tears for, finding a far away friend who has thrown open a door of possibility, courage if you will, to pursue the creative possibilities in my own life.

    The poem is on point for my feeling, an for many others, I am certain.

    Taking time now to read many of your posts. Bit by bit.

    Blessings, warmth and rest to you and husband.