A photo of Tyne Cot Cemetery, in Belgium.For Veterans Day and Remembrance Sunday: ‘Where Poppies Blow’ by Susan Jarvis Bryant The Society November 11, 2021 Beauty, Culture, Poetry 22 Comments . Today I feel the stirrings of the Dead In crimson-littered fields where poppies blow. I hear embittered groans and gasps of dread From churning earth neath crosses row on row. Today our freedoms fade along with sense As blinded minds grow ripe to twist and turn. Now glib and gutless fools sit on the fence As history’s victories rot on tongues that spurn The brave who threw a torch for us to hold Above the grasp of tyranny’s harsh reign. How dare we claim to honor all the bold While giving up each battle’s bloody gain! Today I hear our voiceless saviors weep As graves and homes are robbed of peace and sleep. . . Susan Jarvis Bryant is from Kent, England. She is now an American citizen living on the coastal plains of Texas. Susan has poetry published in the UK webzine, Lighten Up On Line, The Daily Mail, and Openings (anthologies of poems by Open University Poets). NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets. The Society of Classical Poets does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments. CODEC News:Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 22 Responses Julian D. Woodruff November 11, 2021 This just about says it, Susan. And it’s certain that your words would be stricken from FB if you had posted them there. (“Untrue!”) Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant November 11, 2021 Julian, you’re right – this certainly “just about says it” and I simply had to say it… I owe it to my grandparents. Thank you! Reply Cynthia Erlandson November 11, 2021 Great, very un-trite, descriptions of the dead rolling over in their graves, Susan — and a brilliant explosion of Lt. Col. John McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields”. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant November 11, 2021 Cynthia, thank you very much for your sharp, literary eye and the term “un-trite” – a huge compliment. That’s exactly what I was going for. Reply Joseph S. Salemi November 11, 2021 Right on the money, Susan. It’s hard not to think that all those dead died in vain, when our freedoms are now being outlawed. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant November 11, 2021 Joe S., you are so right! And as a granddaughter, great-niece, and child of all those who fought for my freedom, I owe the brave the debt of speaking out in an age of cancel-culture and erosion of liberties. In these wicked times, my poetic outcry seems barely enough. Reply Sally Cook November 11, 2021 So sad. Men who fought to save our freedoms now gone. And now the freedoms are going, one by one. Glad my father isn’t sad to see it. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant November 11, 2021 Dearest Sally, I feel exactly the same about my grandparents. Reply Joe Tessitore November 11, 2021 This is wonderful, Susan. “How dare we claim to honor all the bold While giving up each battle’s bloody gain!” is a stark indictment of who and where we are. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant November 11, 2021 Joe, thank you for your comment, but, most of all, thank you for the example you set in speaking out against the villainy afoot in today’s unjust and duplicitous world. I am sure those who fought for a fair future hear your appreciation every time you write a poem! Never stop!! Reply Brian Yapko November 11, 2021 Susan, this is a magnificent tribute to our veterans and I especially appreciate your reference to Remembrance Day. Your sonnet so skillfully invokes John McCrae’s beloved “Flanders Field” but pushes us into new, unfortunately hostile territory. My favorite of your memorable phrases is the three lines: “history’s victories rot on tongues that spurn/The brave who threw a torch for us to hold/Above the grasp of tyranny’s harsh reign.” My favorite because it just so accurately sums up the vile disrespect that so many leftists now assert against the very people who have made such huge sacrifices on their behalf. They deserve every ounce of vitriol that you throw at them. You certainly have my blood boiling. This is so well done! Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant November 11, 2021 Brian, it pleases me to see that you and Cynthia have spotted exactly what I tried to do with that magnificent poem “In Flanders Fields”. I have often read Lt. Col. John McCrae’s moving rondeau, but these words of his have never affected me as greatly as they have of late: 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. … a stark, poetic message to those bequeathed a bounty of benefits that are now being squandered with abandon. I simply had to take up that torch and get my poetic message across. As I said to Dr. Salemi above… it seems barely enough, though, in this day and age… I may have gone way too far. So be it! Thank you very much for your appreciation and inspiration! Reply Peter Hartley November 11, 2021 Susan – brilliant as always and full of your trademark clever and unexpected word associations. And, like Brian, you have my blood boiling too, and wondering why my father fought at Monte Cassino and my grandfather lied about his age to fight at Gallipoli in 1915. Would they have thought the U.K. was a country worth fighting for today? Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant November 11, 2021 Peter, it’s always lovely to hear from you, even when your blood is boiling… and well it should. I know exactly how you feel about your father and your grandfather (a young, naive lad heading for a brutal battle). Your question is both poignant and pertinent and the fact we should be asking it galls me to my core. I promise you, I wanted to write something less stark… but, I simply couldn’t… I had to be me. Thank you very much for your thought-provoking comment. Reply Jeff Eardley November 11, 2021 Susan, in these days when members of our government are on their tiptoes to keep their heads above the cesspit of greed, your wonderful poem doesn’t just hit the nail on the head, it picks up a lump hammer and drives the nail straight through the wall. We must never forget the debt we owe to those countless young men. A wonderful and most powerful piece. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant November 11, 2021 Jeff, you have driven a nail straight through the wall with your bold and honest comment – that “cesspit of greed” has one helluva lot to answer for. Boris and Biden suck! Pardon my Texan mouth… it’s grown a lot bigger than my British one. LOL Jeff, thank you! Reply Margaret Coats November 11, 2021 Not only graves, but homes, where our current brave men and women willing to carry the torch, and their families, are scorned and ignored. Thanks for the biting focus, Susan. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant November 11, 2021 Margaret, you make an excellent point – there are many willing to carry that torch and they are scorned and ignored. Once again, I owe thanks to the SCP for giving me a platform to vent poetically, politically and passionately… and bold, torch-bearing poets like you who appreciate my voice. Thank you! Reply Satyananda Sarangi November 13, 2021 Hello Susan ma’am, Reading you after quite some time. This poem is evocative and poignant – it affected me to such an extent that I felt I must’ve been a soldier in some previous birth. I think that’s what top-notch poetry does – it transports one to a far-off land. Thanks for writing this. Regards Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant November 16, 2021 Satyananda, it’s lovely to hear from you and thank you for your wonderful comment. Reply David Watt November 14, 2021 Susan, your poem does hits the nail squarely on the head. Those who fought for freedom would be horrified at our sheep-like willingness to see it taken away. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant November 16, 2021 David, thank you very much for this. This poem was a hard one to write this year for reasons obvious to many. The sad thing is, we are so divided that the notion of standing in solidarity has been swept into history’s abyss. Love and loyalty (the very traits that won us our liberty) are almost lost… and, yes, I am to blame. I wish I’d seen it coming sooner, and spoken out earlier. 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