Friday, 16 August 2019

Poems written in response to John McCrae's "In Flanders Fields"

Following on from Heather Johnson's response to my post yesterday about Moina Belle Michael :, (Heather said:
"A Canadian pointed out to me once that Miss Michael's poem is remarkably similar (some lines identical, in fact) to that of R. W. Lillard's poem 'America's Answer', which was in circulation nigh on three months before Miss Michael penned hers."),

this morning I set off on a voyage of discovery and found several other poems in response to John McCrae's. I am now trying to find out more about the poets - if anyone can help please get in touch.

“We Shall Keep the Faith” by Moina Belle Michael (181869 – 1944) – published In “The Miracle Flower: The Story of The Flanders Field Poppy” by Moina Belle Michael and Leonard Roan (Dorrance & Co., Philadelphia, 1941)

Oh! You who sleep in Flanders' Fields
Sleep sweet - to rise anew;
We caught the torch you threw,
And holding high we kept
The faith with those who died.

We cherish, too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led.
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
But lends a lustre to the red
On the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders' fields.

And now the torch and Poppy red
Wear in honour of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught:
We've learned the lesson that ye taught
In Flanders' fields.

“America's Answer” by Robert W.illiamLillard (1859 – 1952) - first published in the New York Evening Post and included in "Prose and Poetry, Eighth Year" (The L. W. Singer Company, New York, 1929) Edited by Fannie L. Avery, Mary M. Van Arsdale, D. Emma Wilber

Rest ye in peace, ye Flanders dead
The fight that you so bravely led
We've taken up. And we will keep
True faith with you who lie asleep,
With each a cross to mark his bed,
And poppies blowing overhead,
When once his own life-blood ran red
So let your rest be sweet and deep
In Flanders Fields.

Fear not that ye have died for naught;
The torch ye threw to us we caught,
Ten million hands will hold it high,
And freedom's light shall never die!
We've learned the lesson that ye taught
In Flanders' fields.

“In Flanders Fields (An Answer)” by Charles Burleigh (C. B.) Galbreath (1858 – 1934) – American writer and poet, State Librarian of Ohio

In Flanders Field the cannon boom,
And fitful flashes light the gloom,
While up above; like eagles, fly
The fierce destroyers in the sky;
With stains, the earth wherein you lie,
Is redder than the poppy bloom,
In Flanders Field.

Sleep on, ye brave, the shrieking shell,
The quaking trench, the startled yell,
The fury of the battle hell,
Shall wake you not, for all is well.
Sleep peacefully, for all is well.
Your flaming torch aloft we bear,
With burning heart, an oath we swear
To keep the faith, to fight it through,
To crush the foe, or sleep with you,
In Flanders Field.

Galbreath’s WW1 collection was entitled “This crimson flower: In Flanders fields, an answer, and other verse” (Stoneman Press, Columbus, OH, 1919); ISBN 978-1-140-31899-6

“Reply to In Flanders Fields” by John Mitchell

Oh! sleep in peace where poppies grow;
The torch your falling hands let go
Was caught by us, again held high,
A beacon light in Flanders sky
That dims the stars to those below.
You are our dead, you held the foe,
And ere the poppies cease to blow,
We'll prove our faith in you who lie
In Flanders Fields.

Oh! rest in peace, we quickly go
To you who bravely died, and know
In other fields was heard the cry,
For freedom's cause, of you who lie,
So still asleep where poppies grow,
In Flanders Fields.

As in rumbling sound, to and fro,
The lightning flashes, sky aglow,
The mighty hosts appear, and high
Above the din of battle cry,
Scarce heard amidst the guns below,
Are fearless hearts who fight the foe,
And guard the place where poppies grow.
Oh! sleep in peace, all you who lie
In Flanders Fields.

And still the poppies gently blow,
Between the crosses, row on row.
The larks, still bravely soaring high,
Are singing now their lullaby
To you who sleep where poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

“In Canadian Fields” by Floyd Zurbrigg (? b. 1937 - )

In Flanders Fields the poppies grow
When I hear that famous poem I know
That our soldiers went to a far off shore
And gave their lives in an awful war
I’m aware of the hardships they endured
So our peace would be assured
But the poem that I cannot find
Tells the stories of those left behind
Of wives and sweethearts, kissed at the train
That never saw their men again
Of parents, brothers and sisters too
Who worried, because they never knew
If their soldier was alive or dead
Many tearful, heartfelt prayers were said
To the one’s at home, we owe a debt
They suffered too, let’s not forget
While in Flanders Fields the poppies grew
The folks at home were heroes too

In 1919, when people were still optimistic about the new future of the world, the Canadian poet Edna Jaques wrote 'In Flanders Now'.

“In Flanders Now” by Canadian poet Edna Jaques - Edna Parliament Jacques (1891–1979)

We have kept faith, ye Flanders' dead,
Sleep well beneath those poppies red,
That mark your place.
The torch your dying hands did throw,
We've held it high before the foe,
And answered bitter blow for blow,
In Flanders' fields.

And where your heroes' blood was spilled,
The guns are now forever stilled,
And silent grown.
There is no moaning of the slain,
There is no cry of tortured pain,
And blood will never flow again
In Flanders' fields.

Forever holy in our sight,
Shall be those crosses gleaming white,
That guard your sleep.
Rest you in peace, the task is done,
The fight you left us we have won.
And 'Peace on Earth' has just begun,
In Flanders now.

The poems by Galbreath and Lillard were I ncluded in “In Flanders' Field” (The Whittier School Press, Oak Park, Illinois, 1920)
OCLC Number: 1029560667

"The fugitive poems in this booklet are so expressive of courage, heroism, and unselfishness that they are here brought together for study and preservation by the pupils of the Oak Park schools."
Description - 13 pages ; 16 cm

The Appeal --
An Answer --
The Promise --
The Fulfillment --
The Soldier --
O, Little Cross in Flanders --
Afterwards --
Ye That Have Faith --
The Perfect Comrade --
But A Short Time to Live.

McCrae, John, -- 1872-1918.
Lillard, R. W.
Galbreath, C. B.
Frost, Meigs O., -- 1882-1950.
Brooke, Rupert, -- 1887-1915.
Hughes, Agnes Lockhart, -- 1866-1942.
Horne, Cyril Morton, -- 1885-1916.
Coulson, Leslie, -- 1889-1916.
Seeger, Alan, -- 1888-1916.

Sources:Heather Johnson's website and…/nationaux-nouvelles-de…