Our Minister: Rev. Richard Lowson

 

 

Poppies

I have realised the one thing missing from my garden this year has been the poppies. In most gardens I have had either clumps of red poppies or yellow and orange wild poppies that have sometimes self seeded.

I do like the fragility of the poppy flower, the striking bright colours and even in death the wonderful dried poppy head full of potential and life.

November brings poppies back into our landscape. Poppies for remembrance. Four years ago the Tower of London was filled with 888,246 ceramic poppies representing the British military fatalities from the First World War. The installation was called Blood swept lands and seas of red by the artists Paul Cummins and Tom Piper. It really did make you think when you saw all those poppies about the human cost of war. Each poppy was a life, a story cut short.

Four years later and we are celebrating 100 years since that conflict ended. The nave of St Albans Abbey is going to be filled with a projection of poppies and falling rose petals and the names of local fallen soldiers. 100 years on we must not forget that human cost. The remembering is important and wearing our poppies , whether white or red, as a symbol of remembrance matters. I finish with some words from Andrew Pratt.

Once crimson poppies bloomed
out in a foreign field,
each memory reminds
where brutal death was sealed.
The crimson petals flutter down,
still hatred forms a thorny crown.

For in this present time
we wait in vain for peace,
each generation cries,
each longing for release,
while war still plagues the human race
and families seek a hiding place.

How long will human life
suffer for human greed?
How long must race or pride,
wealth, nationhood or creed
be reasons justifying death
to suffocate a nation’s breath?

For everyone who dies
we share a quiet grief,
the pain of loss remains,
time rarely brings relief,
and so we will remember them
and heaven sound a loud amen.

Andrew Pratt (born 1948)


Richard