The past ever present

Day 059/100

As you may know have been taking part in a book making workshop for the last number of days, it was great and learned a great deal. It makes so much difference when you able to see something being done to trying to decipher instructions in a book. As part of the course we were asked to choose a text relating to one of three topics. I chose transformation, and in researching it the most common reference was Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, better know as Mary Shelley the writer of Frankenstein (1818). Somehow it just did not seem to fit what I wanted to create a book work with. On further investigation I chose to work with Dr. John McCrae’s famous poem In Flanders Fields (1915), as reading the poem is examines the transformation of the landscape through war, to where the only evidence of what has passed, is the blossoming of an incalculable amounts of red poppies. As you read the poem it is a striking visual, where lines of stark white crosses interspersed with the deep red poppies, seem to cover the landscape, concealing the past atrocities that had taken place. What struck me even more was the lasting symbolism of the poppy to represent the lives lost due to war but also how even today we still have use of such a symbol. In Flanders Fields was written in 1915 during the First World War, but its meaning and visualizations of death and the need for those left behind to move forward, to achieve peace are applicable even now. But the question is more, have we really as a world moved that much forward? Even today man continues to engage in war and conflict, violent acts which enkindle loss of life, including both military and civilian lives. Thus even in the twenty first century the poppy reminds us of what has passed, what is passing and no doubt of what could inevitably pass, for the concept of peace at the best of times is a fragile notion, with even the gentlest of breezes can fracture.


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