“In Flander’s fields the poppies blow…” This is the first line of one of the most famous of the WW1 poems (By John McCrae, 1915).
“And you will know the truth and the truth shall set you free”, John 8.32
“I am the way, the truth and the life”, John 14.6.
I wrote the poem below, on and around 11th Nov. 2014, the Centenary of Armistice Day, after an early morning train journey to London on the East Midlands Line.
Recite this out loud:
In East Midlands Fields
In the carriage’s sweet limbo, slung between
The first and last, early morning stations,
Some, still in the night before’s delicious dream,
Dreamt smilingly through, we hope, other’s destinations.
Some gamed on mobiles and other streamed distractions.
Some with seeming vacant stare, pierced the sky,
Focussed Londonwards towards the day’s transactions.
I assumed all felt on track, with no need to justify
What they hoped life might have in reservation.
Then up the carriage trench, cheerful, chatty, charming,
Came the poppy man, selling floral blood spurts of a nation.
“Want a poppy? Or are you already poppied?”–Quite disarming.
That day just one or two older people bought them.
I had one at home from someone else’s shopping list.
How long would we remember those who fought then?
I joined the mute conspiracy that death does not exist
As the carriage largely, silently, politely ignored him.
An Eastern European pushed a wagon bringing tea.
Our occupation with the poppy might have bored him
Whose freedom’s history crossed another century, a sea
Of blood and hardship, before breaking through to the East Midlands Line.
Through the window I could see, distant, solitary, free
A man in fields clear of poppies and unscarred in our time.
How forever to remember them?
By seeking for the truth and the truth shall make us free.