by John McCrae, May 1915
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
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.
Inspiration for the Poem:
During the Second Battle of Ypres, a Canadian artillery officer, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, was killed on 2 May, 1915 by an exploding shell. He was a friend of Major John McCrae, a Canadian military doctor.
Major McCrae was asked to conduct the burial service, due to the chaplain being called away on duty elsewhere. It is believed that later that evening John began the draft for his famous poem 'In Flanders Fields'.