Sunday, 11 November 2012

Remembrance Sunday


A beautiful autumn Sunday in the Highlands, where the leaves have not yet fallen from the trees, and the heather is still in bloom, as are the last roses in the garden. To Logie Coldstone for a Remembrance Sunday service, where there were soldiers from the Second World War, alongside several returning from Afghanistan. Very humbling... and then so touching to hear the silence broken by the sound of the bagpipes, playing a lament entitled Flowers of the Forest.
Yesterday, we were talking about the whys and wherefores of poppies growing in a wild flower meadow at Tillypronie, and the mystery of how they seed in some places, but not others. All of which has reminded me to re-read John McCrae's famous poem, In Flanders Fields, written in May 1915.

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...



4 comments:

kairu said...

I love that poem. I have been rereading the wartime novels of Angela Thirkell and the enchanting Lady Emily Leslie refers to her eldest son, lost in the earlier 'Great War,' as one of the "flowers of the forest."

Most holiday weekends Canadians stream southwards to Seattle; it's not usually noticeable except for now, when you see the poppies appearing here and there on a lapel...

The Scrivener said...

I like it when the 11th day falls on Remembrance Sunday itself. And Scotland's a good place to be for it; I can't recall the exact statistics but I read somewhere that there are far more Scots in the armed forces, as a percentage of population, than any of the other home nations. And something astonishing like 70% of the SAS are Scots. Can that be right? A warrior nation indeed. And something else to consider when thinking of devolution!

enid said...

War is such a waste of lives and yes Remembrance Day was moving but I still wish that all wars had ended. Your photos are once again gorgeous and a remembrance that life does hold joy and offers up something wonderful.

Justine Picardie said...

Thank you for these thoughtful comments. There's something about the fragility of the poppy -- like the flowers of the forest -- that remind me of how precious life is...