Take up our quarrel with the foe

27 Mar
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close
      In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes,
Or wait the “Amen,” ere thy poppy throws
      Around my bed its lulling charities.
                                              John Keats
As cultured folk you’ll be aware how for millennia the poppy has signified sleep and forgetfulness in European culture. From the poppy we get opium, morphine and all those other lovely “ines” that make us fall through a hole in the carpet when life becomes too much… 
Whoah! whoah! stop all this liberal thinking right now! For the Royal (& sycophantic) British Legion, for hosts of hoopleheads and fellow travellers, for the whole UK indeed (or so it seems) and even for level headed Canada or at least those parts that love to dwell on the horrors of the last century the poppy has become The Symbol Of Remembrance. Well ha! So much for culture. This craze started in the 1920’s as a merchandising scam to sell cloth poppies to help ‘rebuild war torn France’ (a likely story) or perhaps it was inspired by that really bad and militaristic poem  “Flanders Field” (which at least had the idea of poppies meaning sleep). Whatever, it’s too late and the genie is out of the proverbial glass container and you can’t tell anyone that this is cultural illiteracy else they look at you as if you have two heads (which I suppose is two more than they have). 
So it comes about that, two years after the celebration (no better word) of the start of WW1, Hull gets a teeny portion of the crazy poppy themed thing that took over the Tower of London.  It’s an unimpressive, tawdry splash of  red down the side of the Maritime Museum. Puts me in mind of a slit throat or perhaps a some overly enthusiastic menstrual flux. Certainly does not inspire any thoughts of ‘remembrance’ despite it being blessed by vicars and cooed over by the hoi polloi (“Oh isn’t it beautiful!” ‘it’, by the way, is supposed to represent the deaths of thousands of men from high explosives, bullets, poison gas and general military incompetence so … well I just give up!) and idiots in WW1 uniforms standing in front of it like dorks!
Still it attracts folks to town to take piccies (guilty as charged) and of course selfies. Oh the name of this thing? … Weeping Window

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2 Responses to “Take up our quarrel with the foe”

  1. William Kendall March 27, 2017 at 11:52 pm #

    You'd think they'd at least do something original! Been done at the Tower!

    McCrae of course wrote that poem. He's commemorated here, in his home town as well.

  2. Petrea Burchard March 28, 2017 at 1:44 am #

    It's not awful to look at, but it's awful to think of what it signifies. War has been popular for a long time, but I am not a fan.

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