In the days leading up to Remembrance Day we spotted some wonderful knitted and crocheted poppies in Cheltenham along the Promenade. They have been made by the Gloucestershire Women's Institute and total over 7000! In Evesham and on nearby Jubilee Bridge there are also some beautiful poppies, that have been creatively placed alongside the river.
We really admired the knitted poppies, firstly because they are knitted and made of yarn and anything to do with fabric inspires us but also because they are a new and engaging way of making people take notice. So often the old way becomes everyday and unnoticed. It made us contemplate on the symbolic meaning behind the poppy and that whilst the ways in which people try to engage an audience have changed, the sentiment behind the poppy is the same.
The poppy is a very hardy plant, with seeds lying dormant for hundreds of years. They have a strong association with the First World War as they sprung up on the front when the seeds were disturbed by mortar shells and thrown to the surface. They carried with them a very vivid symbolic association with the red of blood spilt on those fields.
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.
From this brutal conflict that redefined people's notion of war, one thing arose that carried with it the powerful imagery of life on the front: poetry.
By Siegfried Sassoon
The anguish of the earth absolves our eyes
Till beauty shines in all that we can see.
War is our scourge; yet war has made us wise,
And, fighting for our freedom, we are free.
Horror of wounds and anger at the foe,
And loss of things desired; all these must pass.
We are the happy legion, for we know
Time's but a golden wind that shakes the grass.
There was an hour when we were loth to part
From life we longed to share no less than others.
Now, having claimed this heritage of heart,
What need we more, my comrades and my brothers?
These poems helped make sense of the very different world that emerged and still move us today.
These poems and the poppy help to remind us of the past. It is important that we take a moment out of our day to remember all the brave men and women and their sacrifice and to be thankful for all that we have.
Have you seen any unusual or interesting poppy displays near you? We would love to hear from you! Let us know by leaving a comment using the box below or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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