Lest We Forget

I’m not one for parades or any kind of gathering where there are crowds of people – they panic me, and I feel unsafe. I prefer to keep the memory of the people who died at war with a poppy on 11th November, known as Remembrance Sunday.

There are many kinds of poppy these days, not just the fabric ones of my childhood which you attach with a pin. There are beautiful red poppy brooches that glitter in the light, enamel lapel pins in different shapes and styles, and ceramic poppies like the ones at the Tower of London in past years. There are even purple poppies for animals in war and white poppies for pacifists.

For me, one of the best aspects of Remembrance Day is the poetry that is read on television and radio, mostly written by World War One poets, such as Wilfried Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, to name but two: a wonderful way to remember the men and women who have kept us safe.

blood-red in the field
soaking up late summer sun
nodding in the breeze

Kim M. Russell, 27th May 2019

Image result for glass poppies tower of london Pinterest
Image found on Pinterest

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Haibun Monday: Memorial

Our host today is Frank Tassone and he invites us to reflect on the importance of memorial.

Frank reminds us that today, the United States celebrates Memorial Day, a holiday which originated as a commemoration for those who died during the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack, and now honours all members of the military who made the ultimate sacrifice. He also asks us to consider the broader meaning of memorial.

Frank poses some important questions, such as: What is worth remembering and why are some events so important that we need to commemorate them while we let other slip away?

Franks asks us to use this broad lens of memorial to write haibun that allude to the concept in some way.  He also inspires with us an example in a passage from Basho’s masterpiece, the Narrow Road to the Interior.

23 thoughts on “Lest We Forget

  1. As I said in my comment, November seems a more natural time to commemorate the dead, but maybe it’s just what I’m used to . It’s nice to see the poppy celebrated as a symbol and as a beautiful thing in its own right. Beautiful haiku, Kim, with the Flanders Fields poem sitting behind it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful. I too think that November is the best time for remembrance. But then the poppies wouldn’t be blooming. I go to a ceremony (sparsely attended) at the War Memorial here in Richmond. I listen to the list of names called out and take part of the list to read the names of the war dead here in Virginia. I take the part that names the H’s, James Robert Hayes and the E’s, my grandmother’s younger brothers who were Killed in Pearl Harbor. I think the poppy is a lovely rememberance along with the poetry. But what is poetry except the last breath of the dead?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Poppies and poetry, how cool. A nice take on the prompt. War poetry is a genre of itself. I wrote a lot about Viet Nam. One of my favorite war poets is Brian Turner, with his book HERE, BULLET.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. When we were in London once Mrs. Jim and daughter and granddaughter went to a small café for breakfast in St. John’s Wood. An elderly gentleman who was having a slight problem navigating came n and sat in a booth. Mrs. Jim had just bought two poppies, one was for me. She gave the gentleman one and asked I he were a Veteran. He said no but then enjoyed the poppy like it was a new toy. She still has the other one.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. In France November 11 is a national holiday and at 11 o’ clock the sirens sound followed by a minute’s silence. I always think that in the UK shoving the memorial to the nearest Sunday is so lame. Then to have the splurge with the poppies. Why can’t they give the Armistice the importance it deserves?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Bev. I worry that remembrance services are just a matter of annual habit for some people and that the true meaning has passed them by.


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