A Centenary to Never Forget

An autumn breeze gently blows over Flanders Field
Poppies stand to attention in red
An autumn breeze gently blows over Flanders Field
One hundred years since they fell

All silent now from their guns and youthful screams
Poppies stand to attention in red
All silent now from their guns and youthful screams
One hundred years since they fell

Some returned only to experience daily repeats in mind
Poppies stand to attention in red
Some returned only to experience daily repeats in mind
One hundred years since they fell

And innocent nameless bystanders now but whispers
Poppies stand to attention in red
And innocent nameless bystanders now but whispers
One hundred years since they fell

That lead to a bloody pointless and unnecessary sequel
Poppies stand to attention in red
That lead to a bloody pointless and unnecessary sequel
One hundred years since they fell

And a dark song can be heard on across the world
Poppies stand to attention in red
And a dark song can be heard on across the world
One hundred years since they fell

But imagining peace’s white bells tolling with light
Poppies stand to attention in red
But imagining peace’s white bells tolling with light
One hundred years since they fell

Finally learning the lessons that time keeps repeating
Poppies stand to attention in red
Finally learning the lessons that time keeps repeating
One hundred years since they fell

© Fi S. J. Brown

Endless

Standing at the edge of the trench,
Like a hound waiting for the hunt,
And the whistle that begins it all.

Stepping blind as go over the top,
Gunfire ringing from ear to ear,
As Armageddon calls the shots.

Turning the poppy fields to red,
With rivers of blood and tears,
All in freedom’s tasteless name.

Telling tales to remember today,
Of fallen soldiers from the past,
With most in their thankful praise.

Forgetting the traumatised ones,
Those returned forever changed,
Forever at war with their demons.

Learning answers but never learnt,
As history continues to repeat itself,
And the innocent lives lost continues.

Dreaming in the west wind of peace,
While the eastern embers burn on,
And a south just wants to be heard.

Imaging with the words of Lennon,
But know lamenting is no solution,
When hate and fear sing louder.

Pondering if there is another way,
Filled with colour, love and empathy,
And one day Planet Earth will smile.

© Fi S. J. Brown

I wear a white poppy

I do not wear a red poppy as is my choice, no I am not being disrespectful to the dead. The red poppy makes me feel like I have a bullet wound upon my chest with its blood pouring out upon the streets as I walk in a strange empathy with those that fell on foreign streets and fields near and far, then and now. Everyone should be free to remember and mark this day in their own way, united in our respect the dead.

I do not wear a red poppy as it does not remind me of all the victims of war. We stop for two minutes silence remembering our fallen armed forces that give their lives but what of the innocent unarmed civilians killed or maimed in the name of war? If it symbolised our sorrow and regret to all that lose their lives in wars (i.e. all nationalities, armed forces and civilians alike) and not a select few, then I may wear a red one.

I do not wear a red poppy as war is painted with in history and the media as a heroic sacrifices and violence is necessary but it is really cruel, bloody and inglorious. How many of the armed forces return from their service changed forever by what they have experienced? Do we respect and honour those return from killing or maiming another human being, but lose part of themselves and/or forever haunted by their experiences?

I do not wear a red poppy as it is not only humans beings that have given their lives in war’s name but animals too. During World War I, dogs and pigeons were used to deliver messages between frontline trenches and further afield. Horses, donkeys and elephants have been used as beasts of burden. Today, animals continue to be used, for example to detect explosives. We rely on them so much but how soon we forget their aid.

I wear a white poppy as it is a symbol of the belief that there are better ways to resolve conflicts, and embodies values that reject killing fellow human beings for whatever reason. Over a hundred years ago the ‘war to end all wars‘ began and yet we still see wars around the world, but I dream on of peace.. Why a white poppy chosen to symbolise this nobody is certain but it wasn’t intended to compete with the red one, only to be different from it.

© Fi S. J. Brown

The song of war

On this the 11th day of the 11th month I think of those that have given their lives physically and mentally in the name of war. Generations old and young lost in rivers of blood that flowed through Flanders Field and continue to this day. It is not only the fallen to think of but those that returned and replay the events in their minds unable to comprehend how and why.

The picture shows many crosses: I wrote one for Mr Glasgow, a childhood neighbour and prisoner in Japan that could not tell me of the horror he saw and heard; I also wrote one for my great uncle George that documented Africa through the lens of his camera with images of sadness and happiness; and finally I wrote one for the innocent bystanders that are nameless but not forgotten that war’s name has taken from their families.

A dreamer and ponderer I may be but I do not want to hear war’s red song, singing it as though it was glorious feels quite wrong. However, I thank those men, women, children and animals the song has called their name, those that returned only to be haunted by it, and those right now live in fear of his song. I hope one day you and I may sing the white song of peace.

© Fi S. J. Brown

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A poppy, a teardrop, a memory

On the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour each year we remember those who gave their lives in times of war with a two minute silence. The closest Sunday to this the UK traditionally marks to remember all those who have given their lives for the peace and freedom by wearing a red poppy. These are almost our blood stained teardrops as we think of innocent lives lost in the senselessness of war. However, we should also shed a tear for those that did return home but are forever scarred by the sights and sounds they witnessed.

This year is extra poignant as marks a 100 years since the start of what is known as World War One, which those that fought would be the biggest war of all time but sadly it was not to be. Even as we pause in remembrance, many globally have their every day marked by seeing seas of red and hearing the battle drum get louder and louder, as the songs of war continue to be heard louder than ever as the words of peace and understanding become almost footnotes of history themselves.

Will we ever learn that the rivers are not meant to be red, but to run clear, free from the red, let it flow with love and understanding?

© Fi S. J. Brown

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