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 Canadian soldier, doctor, and poet John McCrae wrote the poem In Flanders Fields during the dark days of World War One. It is among a collection of his poetry published posthumously after he died of pneumonia in January 1918 at Boulogne in France at the front. The poem has endured for a century after its first publication in a magazine in 1915, and has taken on a life of its own around the world as a tribute to the fallen of war.
The Canadian artist Ruth Abernethy created a twin pair of sculptures of McCrae in 2015. One was placed in his childhood home town of Guelph, Ontario. The second was placed on Green Island here in Ottawa, where the Rideau River splits into two branches and tumbles into the Ottawa River. This place already has a number of military monuments, and the placement of McCrae's statue, larger than life and quite life-like and expressive, features the soldier sitting, holding the poem in hand, looking up at the horizon. Poppies are incorporated at the base of the sculpture, touched by red. From time to time I have photographed it, and these shots date from visits made in 2016 and posted to my photoblog at the time. With the centennial of the end of World War One coming tomorrow, it felt fitting to post this here today. Tomorrow at the photoblog I will feature this spot again from a visit made in October, starting off a series about Remembrance Day that will take up the better part of the rest of the month.