Oh little flower of brightest red, if you could talk, would you tell all?
Would you explain why you grow here, so straight, so proud, so tall?
It cant be easy growing where the ditches border well kept fields,
Where busy farmers hack you down in efforts to increase their yields.
It cant be easy living near the roads where flashing lorries fly,
Bowing to the fast pursuit of cars and coaches, but you try,
To always stand back proud again when they pass by,
With just a sigh.
And when the Southern winds sweep down across the Flanders plain,
You lie quite still ‘till all is calm, then spring back up again.
Do all those passing people know just what your secret’s all about?
That they don’t really give a damn is what it’s all about.
Let’s take them back, my little friend, back ninety years or more.
The fields you grow in now were smashed, by all the hell of war.
The screaming of the airborne shells across a landscape masked by hell,
Where men and horses lived and died down in the mud, with chlorine smell,
Where whole battalions were sucked down into the oozing filth,
Where tangled wire and body parts became a stranded soldiers roof,
Where slime filled shell holes were their homes, but mostly were their graves,
Where living beings were then submerged by massive shell-made waves.
Where twenty thousand of our boys were killed advancing in one day,
Where generals believed that was the price we had to pay.
And five and fifty thousand men of British race were never found,
Their rotting corpses lying broken underneath that sacred ground.
So, little friend, your secrets out, for all the world to see,
Because the place you flourish now is where you have to be.
You grow because the blood and bones of soldiers taint that land,
And even shells that once brought death rust down to lend a hand.
The crushed remains of nations youth give succor to this place,
Allowing now the smile of God to pass across your face.
Your lonely vigil you pursue, each passing year you do re-new
Because without that sacrifice you would not grow at all,
And we would never know the reasons why you grow so tall.
For every one of you that lives, a soldier died in hate,
And you remind us every year, upon that hallowed date.