Why Poppies Are Red [poem, 11 November 1921]

[Editor: A poem published in The Daily Herald, 11 November 1921.]

Why Poppies Are Red.

(By Digger’s Dad.)

Recent cables tell of over a million unemployed in Great Britain alone, including a quarter of a million ex-service men, some of whom are pawning their medals, even the V.C. being offered for disposal in this way.

In Flanders, where red poppies grow,
Brave men are sleeping, row by row;
They left the cities of their lands
’Midst waving flags and blare of bands
To join, they thought, a noble cause,
And fight a war to end all wars.
So that the whole world might be free
From autocratic tyranny.
They won the war, but not the cause,
Men still are chained to martial laws.

In Flanders the red poppies grow
O’er graves of men who sleep below.
They left their homes and kindred dear
With hopes so high that cast out fear;
But now the loved ones of the dead
Are forced to beg their daily broad.
For plotters caused with vile intent
A worldwide unemployment.

And men are found in the condition
Of being forced to a submission,
Of lower living, lower pay,
For capitalists still hold the sway,
And heroes even have to pawn
The medals they had proudly worn;
For while thy fought in foreign lands
Plotters at home forged iron bands.

No wonder poppies blush with shame
When thinking of heroic men.
And so o’er all the gallant dead
The poppies blush a crimson red
For nations still are worn and bent
By burdens of new armament.
So ends the garish false applause,
About a war to end all wars.

The Daily Herald (Adelaide, SA), 11 November 1921, p. 8

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