Wednesday, 7 November 2012

The Inquisitive Child - a Remembrance Day poem

A Poem – The Inquisitive Child
Why are they selling poppies, Mummy? Selling poppies in town today.
The poppies, child, are flowers of love. For the men who marched away.
But why have they chosen a poppy, Mummy? Why not a beautiful rose?
Because my child, men fought and died in the fields where the poppies grow.
But why are the poppies so red, Mummy? Why are the poppies so red?
Red is the colour of blood, my child. The blood that our soldiers shed.
The heart of the poppy is black, Mummy. Why does it have to be black?
Black, my child, is the symbol of grief. For the men who never came back.
But why, Mummy are you crying so? Your tears are giving you pain.
My tears are my fears for you my child. For the world is forgetting again.

                                                                                                 Author unknown

This week, I've been teaching the girls a bit more about Remembrance Day and came across the above poem.

Growing up in a family with of an obsession for all things wartime, the significance of remembering the past is something that, for their age, they have a pretty good understanding of.  Home educating them, we get to teach them about the things which we feel are relevant and important and we don't have to skip over the subjects which might offend someone or might otherwise be deemed too delicate or not politically correct enough (and all that twaddle!).

Last week on a shopping trip to town we saw, for the first time this year, a poppy seller positioned in the foyer of the local supermarket (where have the street sellers with their familiar blue boxes brimming with poppies gone?).  I was surprised to see how the poppy appeal has diversified, I assume, to make it more appealing and to offer more choice.  A look on the Poppy Shop website confirms this.  Personally, the below paper variety will always be the original and the best. 

Image from Wikipedia
Back in the summer, we were driving home from my parent's house when we saw the wondrous sight of a field of wheat interspersed with a mass of bright red poppies.  Parking up, we couldn't resist taking some photographs and, crouched in the field listening to the rustle of the wheat blowing in the breeze we captured these shots.
If you follow me on Facebook, you will have seen this one before :o)

I know the wearing of the poppy isn't for everyone, each to their own I say, but it did surprise and sadden me that so many people, including lots of the older generation, walked past the unobtrusive poppy seller. 

Our family?  We will be wearing our poppies, with great pride, this Sunday as we head to IWM Duxford for their Remembrance Day service.


  1. Lovely poem - never seen that before.

    We had Poppy Sellers in town this past weekend - lots of the older ones no longer do it but the role has been taken over by our local cadet force :)

    As part of a Royal British Legion Band, 2 of my menfolk will be on parade this Sunday - I as every year will be going along to support them :)

    1. We don't have anything like that, not that I've seen anyway, such a shame.

      You must be very proud of your 2. Hope the weather stays fine for you :o)

  2. Well put, Lucy!

    It always disappoints me that this country doesn't do more to commemorate Remembrance Day. In other countries, they mark their remembrance day (not always 11th November) with a public holiday (France, America with Memorial Day, Australia with Anzac Day). In Oz, grandchildren walk in the Anzac Day Parades with their grandparents, or walk in place of their grandparent if grandpa/grandma is too infirm.

    Here, we're lucky to get a 2 minute silence at 11am. Most of the companies I've worked at in the last 23 years never bothered. (And yes, it makes me angry.)

    1. I'm glad I'm not alone in my views. It was never marked in the places where I worked, 2 minutes silence meant 2 minutes less productivity! :o)

    2. In Australia we have remembrance day. 11/11 a t 11am we have 2 minutes silence It is a mark of respect and most Companies and all schools have 2 minute silence even in shopping centres

  3. I miss the poppies. When I came back home for a visit a couple of years ago, I had to have one... Memorial day might be a celebration here in the USA (we also have veteran's day FWIW)... but it doesn't have poppies!

    1. You simply can't beat the poppy :o) Original and best!

  4. What a touching poem, and what beautiful photographs!
    I always wear my poppy with pride and I think its wonderful that you are teaching your children about it all, as it is so important its not forgotten.
    The shop I used to work in would be sent a box of Poppies to sell, and every year they would be put straight in the Bin! It angered me soo much that each year I would fish them out and return them to the legion head office, I can't understand how people can be so thoughtless, to what the poppy stands for and the work that has gone in to making them, but thats my old bosses for you!

    1. Hello Wendy :o) Thank you, the poem was really lovely and I was very pleased to find it. I originally saw it in a Best of British magazing a year ago but couldn't find it again - thank goodness for the internet! That's just rotten of your old work place. Putting them in the bin was so disrespectful - well done you for rescuing them! :o)

  5. The poppy field is beautiful & the poem is very moving. I've been making poppies with my Make, Do and Mend ladies to sell .... last year we raised £1,800 for the British Legion :) I'm wearing my poppy with pride. I have to work this Sunday..... not happy..... but I will run to the cathedral at 11am to lay my cross for my grandfather :) x

    1. Hi Joe,
      Handmade poppies! I like that idea, are they on your blog? I'd love to buy one. Shame you have to work this weekend, I hope you make it to the Cathedral to lay that cross.
      Lucy x :o)

  6. Me again! I have just found out that you are my swap partner for the Christmas Swap, How exciting! I shall put my thinking cap on and start rummaging for some lovely treasures for you! oh and my email is xx

  7. Thank You for this lovely post. I too think that poppy day is so important and I feel that more effort should by made to raise more for the British legion as the cause is so important, as I feel that the soldiers should be cared for better than they are, as they laid down their lives for us. I had never heard this poem before, but I love it, tells the story so well. Lovely photographs too, so beautiful but so sad at the same time.
    Love Lil x

  8. Your poem bought tears to my eyes . . . Why? because I see that same thing . . . people are forgetting.
    When I was a little girl my Mom would give me a bouquet of poppies to go out with and bring back donations for the veteran's. When I was a little girl, "every soldier was a hero". I believe that each and every man and woman that serve their country, should never be forgotten.

    Thank you for sharing this poem.

    Your blogging sister,

  9. I'm writing from the USA & remember men on the downtown streets selling red poppies when I was a child. I don't know that they were for remembrance of our veterans though.

    Sadly in the USA, Memorial Day means the first of the camping season... a paid day off from work, no banking or mail, but little thought to why. Veteran's Day & Memorial Day means sales, sales, sales. I believe that it is caused by the breakdown of families. Years ago when homes were mutli-generational, the older folks told the children stories of those who'd gone before them & kept the past alive. Today's generation is too busy with all their gadgets to spend time listening.

    As for me, I am a storyteller & a writer as I want my gr'children to be understanding, compassionate & appreciative when they become adults. I'll be sharing this poem with them & we'll make some red poppies.

    Connie G

  10. I have found you by searching for the name of the author of this beautiful poem alas they are unknown, perhaps it's as it should be. I found the poem today on my Regiments site, I hope you don't mind if I pass along to them your link. Jeff.

  11. I'm a member of the Royal Canadian Legion (in Quebec) and this past weekend spent several hours with my two children (ages 7 and 5) selling poppies at a local grocery store. As branch secretary, I often order supplies and last year came across an impressive item (I ended up buying several of them) in the Branch's catalogue; it was a tea-towel with this poem printed on it. I literally am brought to tears each time I read it, and thought it would be an appropriate item to place on display at our table. Many passer-byers were also touched by it; one young mother read it out loud to her daughter. I'm also proud to say that my daughter, who is in grade 2, will be reading this poem to her fellow class-mates at the upcoming Remembrance Day Ceremony. Beautifully written and this unknown author deserves recognition where due. Blessings.....