The Sonnet. “In Flanders Fields”. Do you know why Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) volunteers give you a paper poppy after you give them a donation?. Today’s poem is about the meaning of poppies to veterans. Here’s an overview:.
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The Sonnet “In Flanders Fields”
Do you know why Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) volunteers give you a paper poppy after you give them a donation? Today’s poem is about the meaning of poppies to veterans. Here’s an overview:
Some of the bloodiest battles of World War I took place in the areas of northern France and southwest Belgium known as Flanders and Picardy.
The British front line was determined to keep the Germans from traversing Flanders and the Ypres river valley to reach the port of Calais. Troops from both sides were holed up in the Ypres salient, an outward projection of the battle line. Defending British troops were vulnerable on three sides; therefore this was a bloody and dangerous place for a soldier to be.
The destruction from the battles in this area reached beyond the battlefield to the towns and roads of the area, and led to the demolition of buildings, roads, and all plant life, leaving only mud. http://webs.rps205.com/curriculum/ssandvoc/veteransday.html
Where do the poppies come in? • Noticed as early as the Napoleonic Wars, red poppies grew on the graves of dead soldiers in the fields of northern Europe. Evidently, poppy seeds will lie underground for years and bloom if they are plowed up. In the spring of 1915, red poppies flourished in the fields of the Ypres salient covering the newly dug graves.
Where does the poem come in? • The scenes of the spring battles in the Ypres salient moved John McCrae, a Canadian doctor, to write "In Flanders Fields." He wrote the poem as he sat in the dressing area (where wounds were dressed) looking out at a field of graves. The poem was later published in Punch Magazine. McCrae died of pneumonia in 1918, a common killer of Great War soldiers.
Inspired by McCrae's poem, American Moina Michael wore poppies to honor the war dead. She also began to sell poppies to raise money for disabled veterans. After meeting Moina Michael in 1920, Frenchwoman Madame E. Guerin started selling handmade poppies to raise money for poor children who were living in the aftermath of the Great War. Soon thereafter Field-Marshall Earl Haig, the former British Commander-in-Chief, encouraged the selling of paper poppies to raise funds for veterans. This tradition spread to Canada and then to the United States.
In Flanders Fieldsby John McCrae (1915) • In Flanders fields the poppies blowBetween the crosses, row on rowThat mark our place; and in the skyThe larks, still bravely singing, flyScarce heard amid the guns below. • Although not technically a sonnet, "In Flanders Fields" borrows from that tradition. There are 15 lines.
We are the Dead. Short days agoWe lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,Loved and were loved, and now we lieIn Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe! To you from failing hands we throwThe torch; be yours to hold it high! If ye break faith with us who dieWe shall not sleep, though poppies growIn Flanders fields.
Questions • Compare the mood in the first two stanzas with that in the third. • Is this a pro-war poem? If so why; if not, why not? • Who is the speaker in this poem? • What does the speaker want his listeners to do?
Tetrameter • Four metric feet, eight syllables
What is a sonnet? • A fourteen-line poem • Usually in iambic pentameter (5 metric feet, 10 syllables) with a strict rhyme scheme. • Two types of sonnets: Elizabethan and Italian
Italian (Petrarchan) sonnets have an octave and a sestet, and have a rhyme scheme of abbaabbacdecde(The last sound of the last word in each line. • Shakespearian sonnets consist of three quatrains and a couplet and have a rhyme scheme of ababcdcdefefgg. • The sonnet is believed to have come from medieval songs.
Rhyme scheme: the pattern of end-rhyme in lines of poetry. • Stanza: an arrangement of a certain number of lines, forming a division of a poem • Octave: an 8-line stanza • Sestet: a 6-line stanza • Quartrain: a 4-line stanza • Couplet: a 2-line stanza • Sonnet: a 14-line poem
Rhyme Scheme In Flanders Fieldsby John McCrae (1915) • In Flanders fields the poppies blowBetween the crosses, row on rowThat mark our place; and in the skyThe larks, still bravely singing, flyScarce heard amid the guns below. A A B B C
A A B C • We are the Dead. Short days agoWe lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,Loved and were loved, and now we lieIn Flanders fields.
A A B B C D • Take up our quarrel with the foe! To you from failing hands we throwThe torch; be yours to hold it high! If ye break faith with us who dieWe shall not sleep, though poppies growIn Flanders fields.