John McCrae
In Flanders Fields



In Flanders Fields

John McCrae

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.

John McCrae (1872-1918)



About the Author

John McCrae was not only a poet but a physician and Lieutenant Colonel in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Born on November 30, 1872 in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, he attended the Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute, a public high school. It was here that he joined the Guelph militia regiment.

He attended the University of Toronto and was a part of the Toronto militia. After completing his BA, he received a scholarship to study medicine and it was during this time that he began publishing his poetry.

During World War I, McCrae was a field surgeon in the Canadian artillery. It was during the Second Battle of Ypres in 1915, that a friend, Lt. Alexis Helmer, was killed in battle. The burial of his friend inspired the poem In Flanders Fields, written on May 3, 1915.

McCrae died of pneumonia on January 28, 1918 while commanding No. 3 Canadian General Hospital at Boulogne, France.




John McCrae and his poem inspired other poets to respond with their own poems. One was Moina Michael with We Shall Keep the Faith. Several others are printed below.



America’s Answer

R.W. Lillard

Rest ye in peace, ye Flanders dead
The fight that you so bravely led
We’ve taken up. And we will keep
True faith with you who lie asleep,
With each a cross to mark his bed,
And poppies blowing overhead,
When once his own life-blood ran red
So let your rest be sweet and deep
In Flanders Fields.

Fear not that ye have died for naught;
The torch ye threw to us we caught,
Ten million hands will hold it high,
And freedom’s light shall never die!
We’ve learned the lesson that ye taught
In Flanders’ fields.




In Flanders Fields (An Answer)

C.B. Galbreath

In Flanders Field the cannon boom,
And fitful flashes light the gloom,
While up above; like eagles, fly
The fierce destroyers in the sky;
With stains, the earth wherein you lie,
Is redder than the poppy bloom,
In Flanders Field.

Sleep on, ye brave, the shrieking shell,
The quaking trench, the startled yell,
The fury of the battle hell,
Shall wake you not, for all is well.
Sleep peacefully, for all is well.
Your flaming torch aloft we bear,
With burning heart, an oath we swear
To keep the faith, to fight it through,
To crush the foe, or sleep with you,
In Flanders Field.




Reply to In Flanders Field

John Mitchell

Oh! Sleep in peace where poppies grow;
The torch your falling hands let go
Was caught by us, again held high,
A beacon light in Flanders sky
That dims the stars to those below.
You are our dead, you held the foe,
And ere the poppies cease to blow,
We’ll prove our faith in you who lie
In Flanders Fields.

Oh! rest in peace, we quickly go
To you who bravely died, and know
In other fields was heard the cry,
For freedom’s cause, of you who lie
So still asleep where poppies grow,
In Flanders Fields.

As in rumbling sound, to and fro,
The lightning flashes, sky aglow,
The mighty hosts appear, and high
Above the din of battle cry,
Scarce heard amidst the guns below,
Are fearless hearts who fight the foe,
And guard the place where poppies grow.
Oh! sleep in peace, all you who lie
In Flanders Fields.

And still the poppies gently blow,
Between the crosses, row on row.
The larks, still bravely soaring high,
Are singing now their lullaby
To you who sleep where poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.




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