From the family photo album, the boy was their son, he died in 1917 in an accident when a hay cart ran away.
In the summer we visited the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation at the Tower of London, for overseas readers, it is 888,246 ceramic poppies, each poppy representing a British fatality during the First World War. Designed by Tom Piper and Derbyshire artist, Paul Cummins, it is an art work that has provoked debate. Which is no bad thing.
Visiting with friends we found it very moving. Our ‘haven’t seen you for ages’ chatter stopped and we all fell quiet.
One life one poppy, hard to comprehend, but we must.
The concept of poppies, being symbolic of the loss of life in the First World War or any other conflict, has deep meaning for me.
As a child we had very elderly neighbours, who lived in a large rambling house at the corner of the lane, my mum used to go each morning and ‘light the fires’ and make them a hot drink for them. I can remember going with mum on winter mornings, probably in the Christmas holidays, for the thing I remember most distinctly was how bone gnawingly cold and dark their home was, that and their Christmas tree, it was a sparse dour affair, made of material like thin green bottle brushes it had no ornaments, just red poppies, in memory of their son who was killed in the World War Two. (I wrote about it on this blog, in 2007)
One life, one poppy, one life, one poppy, if this art work can make that more tangible to our generation , during this the centenary of World War One, I think it is working. If the poppies could be white, how nice that would be. As for the glorification of war? No sorry, it wasn’t what our visit said to me. It said what a grievous event it was..
When we got home, I went online and ordered a poppy, the monies raised going top of our to Services charities. It will be sent to us once the installation has been dismantled. It may or may not get here in time for Christmas. If it does, it will be going at the top of our Christmas tree.