Monday, November 16, 2009

In Flanders Fields

"In Flanders Fields" is one of the most famous poems written during World War I and certainly the most famous Canadian poem. It was written by John McCrae. Here is the text of this poem:

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.

Each verse consists of eight syllables. The lone exceptions are the final verses of the second and third stanzas which have only four syllables. The rhyme scheme of the poem is a,a,b,b,a,a,a,b,c a,a,b,b,a,c. The first two verses of each stanza begin with a,a. The stress pattern of the poem is weak, strong. The verses consist of four feet in which the second syllable of each foot is stressed. Thus the poem is in iambic tetrameter with the exception of two verses which are in iambic dimeter.

"In Flanders Fields" is a powerful poem which reminds us of the sacrifices made in war. The poppy which is red may symbolize the blood shed in the struggle for peace. The sweet song of the larks in the sky provides a strong contrast to the sound of guns heard on the battlefield.

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