pWdumaNjA-6CEEBhRoD5euxNETs When All This Actual Life Played Out: In Flanders fields

11 November 2012

In Flanders fields


Essex Farm Cemetery
Ieper (Ypres), Belgium
9 July 2012

It was here that John McCrae wrote his poem "In Flanders Fields" while serving as a physician in World War I. Behind the poppies is the advanced dressing station where he treated casualties. The rooms are dank, dark and hopeless. All I could think looking at them was what a horrifying place they must have been, cold and damp, echoing with the sounds of the dying and wounded and those tending them. An awful place to serve, an awful place to die.

The cemetery, which was behind me as I took the photo, is a very small one, narrow and neatly tended as are all the cemeteries like it that hold war dead. A busy road runs alongside, and life goes on all around. Yet, there is a stillness in this little parcel, an out-of-time quiet.

And poppies, at once miraculous and terrible.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40. In honor of those who served.

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