In Flanders Fields

John McCrae

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.

This poem, the most famous of McCrae's work, was written in 1915 after his friend Alex Helmer was killed in the Second Battle of Ypres. It was written on a scrap of paper in the back of a military ambulance. It is said he was inspired by the poppies growing over the graves at Essex Farm, where he was treated at a dressing station.

The poet John Greening wrote the poem Essex Farm, Yser Canal, many years later, when he visited the place on a tour.