Poppy Day

Norfolk, June 2009

A million blood red poppies fell slowly to the floor
And I heard a million voices that I had heard before
Calling from a foreign field, the earth, the sea, the sky
Telling all the story of why they had to die.

Liberty and freedom, motherland and home
These are words to cherish but the dead lie deathly prone.
Have we learned the lesson, all they gave was it in vain?
Is this a better world we live in built upon their pain?

A million blood red poppies, remember them and pray
They gave their tomorrow that we might have this day
We must strive to greater effort for peace and goodwill to reign
Never should one single poppy fall to the floor again.

Cyril Frederick Perkins (1920 - ), WW2 People's War

WW2 People's War is an online archive of wartime memories contributed by members of the public and gathered by the BBC. The archive can be found at bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar.

NB This site also gives details on how People's War material can be re-used for publication. As Veg Plotting is a non-commercial site, a simple acknowledgement of the source as shown above was sufficient to grant me permission to use it.


  1. thanks VP - that's beautiful, and a refreshingly honest note after all the bombast I've just been listening to on Radio 4.

    The photograph is extraordinary, too.

  2. Strange that I was cycling by Allington today, and in the corner of a farmyard I noticed three small poppies as we rode past.

  3. VP a lovely post.
    Mike recently went to a residents talk the title 'What lesson's we have learnt from two World Wars'. I like Mike expected it to be on better methods of negotiating to avoid conflict.

    No not at all it was about more sophisticated ways of killing more efficiently. Told by a Brigadere I suppose we should have realised where the bias would lie and sadly whilst such people are in such postions of power there will be more killed by war.

  4. A superb post! Flighty xx

  5. Thank you for sharing that beautiful poem. I've got goose bumps.

  6. I usually wear a poppy, a red one, though I would like to wear a white one. I know that many people associate white poppies with being disrespectful to war dead and I don't want to offend anyone who may have lost someone in Afghanistan or Iraq. They've got enough to cope with already. What do other people think?

  7. Glad you liked the poem everyone :)

    I wanted to use one which has a reminder about why peace is so important and I'm especially pleased to have found a corker from an unknown poet.

  8. VP, I was looking at In Flanders Fields yesterday, and having not read the poem in a while was dismayed to realize it focused on war, not peace. Your pick has the same respect for the loss of life, but its philosophy is one I can embrace. Great find.

  9. Helen - that's exactly what I was aiming for with this post. Thank you :)


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