John F. McCullagh

Freshman - 1,055 Points (09/28/1954 / Flushing)

Red Ceramic Poppy


Imagine yourself a red ceramic Poppy,
placed with care into the English soil.
One hundred years ago you were a soldier,
a frightened teen in a chaotic world.
You'd been sent, by King's command, into the battle-
A mindless melee John French thought he'd won.
Perhaps some yards of France had been reclaimed
at a mind numbing cost of mothers' sons.
You were one of those shot, gassed or burned.
Hit by a shell and blown to kingdom come.
(In ‘fourteen they had funerals for the fallen.
Mass burials became the norm before Verdun.)
That's how you went from the playing fields of Eton
to an unmarked grave somewhere in Northern France.
So now you are a red ceramic poppy,
a symbol of an Empire, now passed.
Placed in English soil by teenaged hands.
one of nine hundred thousand home at last.

Submitted: Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Topic of this poem: war and peace


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Poet's Notes about The Poem

England is placing nearly 900,000 red ceramic poppies in the dry moat of the tower of London to commemorate her war dead from world war one.

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