After the First World War had wreaked it’s devastation across mainland Europe, the bomb-blasted fields of France recovered as only nature can, throwing up millions of scarlet poppies.
The flower is fragile and delicate yet showed such resilience to clothe the battlefields behind the fronts. The scene inspired a visiting Canadian Doctor, Lt Col John McCrae to pen the words to the the now immortal poem “Flanders’ Fields.”
IN FLANDERS 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.
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.
Written in 1915 the war was yet to rage another 3 years.
To help the families of the fallen, silk poppies were made and sold raising over a hundred thousand pounds, a massive sum for the time.
The Poppy that grew in Flanders’ fields was Papaver Rhoeas, the field poppy. The field poppy has four petals, translucent and fine held on a narrow flexible stem that moves with the slightest breeze.
It isn’t the flower depicted on the Mural above in Sheffield, UK. That flower is an anemone. It’s a sturdy plant that grows each year from a corm with flowers that last many weeks and can be seen in a multitude of colours. They would never survive the quagmire that was the trenches to bloom in the chaos.
The message is lost.
Someone should have done their homework. How easy is it to Google poppy and find out what they really look like?
Well, apparently, not so easy.
Take a look at the picture above. Tagged as a poppy on Unsplash, again this is Anemone De Caen.
The picture above is the real Field Poppy, growing in profusion in a wildflower meadow.
The problem we have in our easy access world is knowing if the information we have found is true or false. In this case it was just a plain mistake perpetuated by people who didn’t know better.
In other cases it is much more insidious. Fake news, propaganda, charlatans hyping their own brand of dangerous product. If experts in a field disagree with your point of view, diss the experts wholesale.
all lies and jest, till a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest
(Simon and Garfunkel, The Boxer)
We live in a world where it is easy to find information. The problem is knowing what’s right and what’s wrong and that takes a lot more work. It’s not a new phenomenon, and this article certainly isn’t meant to be a another bash technology blast. Just a reminder to check more than one source in your quest for answers.