28 January 2018

Remembering John McCrae: 100 Years

One hundred years ago today, John McCrae lost his life to pneumonia in the No. 14 General Hospital in Wimereux, France. The struggle was not long, lasting less than four days from diagnosis to death.

A great deal of verse has been written in memory of McCrae. As far as I know, the first to have achieved publication is by Florence E. Westacott. Her "John M'Crae" appeared in the 13 February 1918 edition of the Toronto Globe, seventeen days after his death.

                        He made for us the poppies glow
                                    In Flander's Fields
                        Forever we shall see them grow;
                        A crimson harvest row on row,
                                    They stand revealed. 
                        The torch back hurled with failing hand
                                    Is high upborne;
                        Its summons flaming land to land
                        Caught swift response from farthest strand
                                    Which greets the morn. 
                        All peacefully now the dead
                                    In Flanders Field,
                        Their course well run, their message sped;
                        The poppies bending overhead
                                    From guard and shield. 
                        Still flares the Spartan torch youths fling
                                    By Flanders Field,
                        But who the poet's song shall sing,
                        Or clearly strike that pulsing string
                                    His cold hands yield?

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