Skip to main content

Wednesday's Word: In Flanders Fields

In grade school, once a year we had to memorize a poem and recite it for the whole class. Up until grade 5, at which point we had to start writing speeches. I detested public speaking, and have few memories of this part of my education.

I do, however, remember that I chose to memorize In Flanders Fields one year. I can still recall it from memory:

In Flanders Fields the poppies grow
Between the crosses row on row
That mark our graves, but in the sky
The lark, still bravely singing, flies -
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead.
Short days ago, we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow.
Loved and were loved.
But 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

(I verified that - and turns out I forget the first line of the last stanza...)

It's one of those once-a-year poems, but that didn't phase me when I was eight(ish). And it doesn't phase me now when I see it on our money either. Anyone know which bill it's on? Because Remembrance Day is one of the most important holidays of the year to me...I won't rave endlessly about my fabulous Grampie today. Although you should all read his story here.

I have been thinking about the reality of war in our current day and age, and I think that it is too easy for me to treat Remembrance Day as merely a salute to the past. But let's be honest. There are people from my species, my country, my city, my family who are fighting with other family members, sons and daughters who grew up in a town, in a country, in someone else's home. Who live through things that no one should have to experience.

Sometimes, we remember the past and forget the present. Let's not be like that.

Comments

Laura J said…
it's on the 10 dollar bill.

Remembering is so important. Remembering fallen soldiers, sacrifice and tragedy. None of us live the way we do independent of others actions. We could be living under tyranny but we live in a place of choice and freedom regardless or gender, race or religion. It's not perfect but it's amazing.

Popular posts from this blog

5 Rules for Being a (North) American Adult or No One Wants You to Love Yourself

5 Rules for Being a (North) American Adult
(paraphrased from a lecture by Anne Lamott, whose priest friend shared them with her many years ago)

1. Have it all together. 2. If you don't have it all together, fix whatever is broken in you so that you do have it all together. 3. If you can't fix whatever's broken, pretend that you have. 4. If you can't pretend to be fixed, don't show up - it's a bit embarrassing to the rest of us. 5. If you do decide to show up broken, at least have the decency to be ashamed of yourself.
--
We are encultured towards self-loathing and self-avoidance. 
Be perfect. Do it all, do it right.  If you can't be better, pretend you are. Don't look any deeper. Keep busy. Keep your chin up. Keep up appearances.
It takes so much energy. It takes too much energy.
--
What would happen if I just loved myself? is the question I have been asking since my last post.
It's the question I hear when I see photos of lovely fat ladies who refuse…

Fostering FAQ: How Can You Say Goodbye?

It seems I finally have something(s) to say... Here's the first in a short (or maybe long?) series on Fostering FAQs. If you've got a question to add, feel free to comment/email/text/message me and maybe the next post will be in response.

--

8:30 am on Day 4 of parenting. I woke up in a panic two hours ago because I remembered that there is a baby and I am responsible for her (at least at 6:30am, when the man beside me will snore through anything). Now, I have put on clothes and eaten breakfast. The dogs are walked, there is a loaf of banana bread in the oven. My tea is steeping. Most importantly, Dream Baby is already down for her first nap.

Despite my morning efficiency, I'm already beginning to see that even with the happiest, most easygoing, and smiliest baby, like we somehow managed to be given, parenting is a grind. On Friday night, I couldn't join friends for $5 pints at a local joint. Instead, I blearily washed the same 8 bottles again, and then made another ba…

Fostering FAQ: How Long Will She Stay/Will You Adopt Her?

Our first foster baby came with about 18 hours notice; it was respite care, which means we had him for a few days while his regular foster family had a break/dealt with a family emergency. He stayed 3 nights, long enough to come to church and have a dozen people cooing over his little sleeping cheeks.  With each new visitor to our quiet corner, I explained again that he would be going back to his foster family the next day.

Barely a week later, we got a 9am phone call with a fostering request and by the same afternoon, we were snuggling her. This time, we had her for 4 days before church came around. Again, our community was keen to see the little one we had in tow. Again, the question, "How long will she stay?" And this time, "Are you going to adopt her?"

--

Here in Toronto, when a child is placed in foster care, it is always for an indefinite length of time. It depends on the parents' situation, and whether they are able to make a safe home environment for th…