Today is Armistice Day, a day whose memory is celebrated in the UK and Commonwealth countries. Poppies have become a widely recognised symbol for those who lost their lives. The world as we know it now bears no resemblance to the world when they were fighting and events are now shaping ours in ways that were unthinkable until recently. We should give thanks that we have enjoyed peace for so long here in Europe and pray that it will continue.
The published version of the poem reads:
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.
By John McCrae
“The reproduction of the autograph poem is from a copy belonging to Carleton Noyes, Esq., of Cambridge, Mass., who kindly permitted its use.”
I couldn’t decide whether I preferred the version with the black or white writing so I have included them both.
Nelson Mandela’s death prompted Ailsa to challenge us to share images of what ‘symbol’ meant to us.
The dove and olive branch are found together in the account of Noah’s ark in the Bible, and were used symbolically by early Christians and eventually were used as a secular peace symbol. This was popularized by Pablo Picasso in 1949 and became widely used in the post-World War II peace movement. Beginning with the Egyptians, the dove was as symbol of quiet innocence. The Chinese felt the dove was a symbol of peace and long life. To early Greeks and Romans, doves represented love and devotion, and care for a family. The dove was the sacred animal of Aphrodite and Venus, the goddesses of love and friendship. The dove also symbolized the peaceful soul for many cultures.
In Cyprus, sadly divided into two, it seems that peace is a long way away and there are many symbols of the desire for peace to be seen around the island.
Visit Where’s my backpack for some more wonderful symbols
Ailsa’s challenge this week was to post a “white” photograph. Here are some of my white photos:
the white temple at Chiang Rai, northern Thailand
go here to read the complete post about our visit there
ice sculpture in Amsterdam
a florist’s shop window in Amsterdam
a white peony
The last two are not white but they do depict the doves of peace, in honour of today’s post. Both were taken in Cyprus.