Consider the Poppies

Once more, I turn to some humble sort of verse to express my thoughts on Armistice Day. As it turns out, it is the same thought for the same occasion. Hailing from the land of the old aggressor, I was unfamiliar with the British custom of sporting paper poppies in honor of the fallen. That Germans do not observe the day with such a display of red is both obvious and telling. What is being recalled are past victories and triumphs, not the vanity, the ruin and the death that are the now of war, the wars that are now.

Consider the Poppies

Symbols they are, I know,
those poppies pinned on lapels,
on shirts and on sweaters and coats.
A sea of them, all over Britain.

Scarlet flowers that shout down
the labels of whatever fashion,
to bloom for a day or so.

Simple it is, you know,
pinning those poppies to dispel
the sweat, and the lump in your throats.
I see it all. I am in Britain.

Go get yours, yet note also:
the poppy, so well out of season,
returns before long, to scorn
like the wars you ignore
in the very moment of commemoration.

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