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John McCrae
Flanders Fields, France
1917

 

In Flanders Fields

     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.

 


The name of John McCrae (1872-1918) may seem out of place in the distinguished company of World War I poets, but he is remembered for what is probably the single best-known and popular poem from the war, "In Flanders Fields." He was a Canadian physician and fought on the Western Front in 1914, but was then transferred to the medical corps and assigned to a hospital in France. He died of pneumonia while on active duty in 1918. His volume of poetry, In Flanders Fields and Other Poems, was published in 1919.

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