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In Flanders Fields

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Sam Marchetti

on 30 October 2013

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Transcript of In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields
By John McCrae
In Flanders Fields
Read by Anthony Davies
This poem was written in 1915 by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. McCrae's inspiration came from the loss of his good friend Alexis Helmer who
died after being hit by a German shell. The next day McCrae wrote the poem sitting
on the rear of an ambulance between shifts. He constantly looked at the grave of his fallen friend while writing the poem. He was talking as if he were Helmer and all those who had died in the war and it helped inspire him to keep on fighting for his friend and the rest of the soldiers so that their death would not be for nothing. Witness accounts state that he wrote the poem in Rondeau form (which is one of the most demanding formats for poets to compose) in less than one hour. It is one of the most well-known poems to date.
"In Flanders Fields"
"Between the crosses, row on row"

The title "In Flanders Fields" is
repeated at the end of the second
and third stanzas, and at the
beginning of the first stanza. The
title's deeper meaning is its
representation of the many soldiers
who have died and are now buried
in Flanders Fields. This is
reinforced when he says that there
are crosses in Flanders Fields,
which helps the reader to see the
Fields as a symbol of the many
"That mark our place"
"We are the dead"
"We lived"
"Take up our quarrel"
"From failing hands we throw"
"Break faith with us"
"We shall not sleep"

The method of narration is 1st
person. It helps to show the
author's personal emotions
about the theme of the poem,
death. It also shows how the
dead have a voice in the world,
and how they still affect the
world of the living.
"In Flanders Fields"
"Poppies blow/between the
crosses, row on row"
"We are the dead"
"Amid the guns below"
"Loved, and were loved, and
now we lie/in Flanders Fields"
"To you from failing hands we
throw the torch"
"If ye break faith with us who
die/we shall not sleep"
Setting and Tone
The poem is set in Flanders
Fields, which is essentially a
field of graves of fallen soldiers
and poppies.
The mood of the poem is varied
throughout. The first two
stanzas have a sad, dark mood
to them, when the poet
mentions the graves and the
war going on around them. The
last stanza has more of a
desperate mood, when he says
that they are finished and now
we must take up the fight
because they are dying.
Rondeau Form

13 lines, 8 syllables each

3 Stanzas




The Rondeau form helps to
enforce the dark, solemn mood
of the poem. The last line of the
second and third stanzas is
shorter than all the others, since
they only say "In Flanders
Fields". This is meant to
reinforce the theme of the
poem. The third stanza is longer than the first, which is longer than the second. This is because the second stanza is a description of the past, the first is a description of the present, and the last is meant to get your attention, it being about the duty that the dead pass on to us.
"The torch; be yours to hold it high"

"In Flanders Fields the poppies
blow/between the crosses, row on

Sensory Imagery:
"we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset
glow/loved and were loved"
The torch is used as a metaphor
for what the dead have left
behind for us. It is a metaphor
for the duty that we now have to
finish what they started and to
make sure that they do not die
in vain. The poppies are probably a
metaphor for the blood they
shed in war for us to be able to
live on. They are a symbol of
their sacrifice for future
generations. They are a symbol of
their sacrifice for future
generations. The sensory imagery
shows us that these were real
people who had families who loved
them, yet they sacrificed themselves
for our country. It helps to put
what they have done for our
country in perspective.
Speech Figures
"Flanders fields"
"crosses, row on row"
"and in the sky / The larks, still bravely
singing, fly / Scarce "
"saw sunset"
"Loved and were loved, and now we lie"
"with the foe: / To you from failing"
"hold it high"

"break faith"

Formal Diction:
"Scarce heard amid the guns below"
"Sunset glow"
"We shall not sleep"

The diction is very formal, which
gives the poem a saddened tone.
The use of alliteration and
assonance in this poem helps to
add a flowing, songlike quality to
the stanzas that sounds very
formal and somber. Internal and
line ending rhyming also give this
poem a lyrical aspect.
Sound to Sense
Literal Statement:
The dead are talking about their lives, and how they now lie in Flanders Fields.
Figurative Statement:
The true meaning of the poem is that there are many soldiers that went to war and sacrificed their lives so that we could continue to live on. The dead, who are speaking in the poem, tell us that we must continue their mission, we must prevent their deaths from being in vain, and we must take the duty of finishing what they started.
This poem has been a source of inspiration for many people.
Moina Michael, a YMCA secretary was deeply moved by this poem. After the war she wrote a response to this poem:

We shall keep the faith

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet -- to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.
She was also so inspired that she started selling poppies to help wounded veterans that we're returning from Europe. She wore a poppy all year round in support of this initiative and is considered "The Poppy Lady". The practice of selling poppies went to France and the British Empire. To this day, poppies are still sold on the days leading up to Remembrance Day.
Since it is officially a Canadian poem, Jean Pariseau wrote an official French version of the poem so everybody within Canada, French or English could enjoy the poem. The poem is called "Au champ d'honneur".
The Montreal Canadians have used the line "to you from failing hands we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high" as a motto since 1940
The Royal Canadian Mint was inspired and has released coins with poppies on them as well as having an image on the ten dollar bill to support it.
In Conclusion
Many musicians such as Ives provided musical accompaniment to John McCrae's poem. This poem (with or without musical accompaniment) is traditionally read on Remembrance Day (by Canadians especially).
John McCrae wrote a very passionate poem in 1915 about the soldiers who died in the war. His poem is a symbol for our duty left to us by those soldiers, and it has inspired many people to carry on his message.
Did You Notice The
Remembrance Day Raven?
Because He Noticed You.
In the movie "Dangerous Minds", the students are inspired to fight to keep their grades and graduate by their teacher, who sacrifices everything to help them. This is like the soldiers, who gave up everything for us to live normal lives, but left us a duty to continue fighting to maintain them.
In "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2", Neville stands up to Voldemort, proclaiming that they will make sure that Harry and the others did not die in vain. This is much like the soldiers request for us to continue their mission, and make sure they did not die in vain.
Full transcript