The blood of the fiery beast teardrops slowly to the fertile earth below. Seeping deep within the soil, seeding to rest and rest.
One could buy oblivion, dens of horror where the memory of old sins could be destroyed by the madness of sins that are new.
As St. Andrews Night falls, young hopefuls scatter dark seeds into the cobbled void behind them. Dreaming of the love it will bring their way.
The juice of it’s sleeping eyelids laid will make a man or a woman dote upon the next live creature it sees.
Churned by war they are distilled from their quaint slumber. The battle may be done but from it’s carnage another fight excites itself. From the fallen, plumes forth its luscious blood red stains seeking the touch of that forgotten sun.
Their odor is so powerful that anyone who breathes it falls asleep, and if the sleeper is not carried away from the scent… he sleeps on and on forever. But Dorothy did not know this, nor could she get away…
Hastily scribbling down that nagging doubt in her head. It’s all too overbearing, everything is wrong. Place it in a seed of eternal sleep beneath your pillow, they had said and wake when the morrow comes and you will know your place. They had all spoken so oddly but else was she to do, she had to try…
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
Her draping gown sweeps the harsh soil. Her horn of petals filled with the liquor of eternal rest clutched at her side. Too late, she knows already, he is dead. His mortal form now but a shell. Tears she sheds not, conjuring the mights his husk is replaced by the beauty of remembrance. A glory of deep reds and dark seeds.
A symbol of love, of remembrance, of hope. A guide through troubled waters and towards new horizons. A form of deadly escape. The signifier of eternal sleep both peaceful and menacing. All this iconography is connected with the humble form of the Poppy flower. It’s history transcends myth and legend, witchcraft and magicks, symbolisms and meanings. These days it is most notably the symbol of remembrance in Britain, US and Canada for the lives lost during armed conflicts past and present. However this has been the case for centuries, long ago adopted by the people of Ancient Rome and Greece. In which poppies would be left to decorate graves. Demeter Goddess of Agriculture, harvest, growth and nourishment in Ancient Greece is believed to have turned the form of her mortal lover into a poppy upon his death. So that he would never be forgotten giving rise to the association of remembrance and the poppy flower. The Poppy in its varieties can also be a weed, its seeds lie buried within the earth dormant awaiting the churning of the soil, bringing them to the top and giving them a chance at life. Which was the cause of the sprouting of the flowers following the fighting in Flanders field as noted by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae in his famous poem. The heavy fighting had brought hundreds of seeds to the surface and so the flower flowered in the extreme. The blooming of those blood red petals following the devastation of the war waged on its soil was obviously immediately evocative. A perfect metaphor for the war waged and the losses incurred. The phenomenon had long been recorded of Poppies rising in places of great violence but thanks to McCrae it gained greater notoriety. In earlier years it was believed it was the dead giving rise to those blood red buds. Each flower marking a fallen soldier and the horrendous bloodshed they had been witnessed.
The prophetic and symbolic nature of the Poppy is incredible and extraordinarily diverse. Each connection, each link, each understanding though is human-made. We have formulated this link between our actions, our history and nature in order to create understandings. Now of course we understand why said connections exist but the connection had long been cemented by our ancestors in their attempts to understand and gain for knowledge. When we begin to look at and analyse the attachments and connections we apply to words, flowers, people, animals, things you’ll find another fascinating hidden world within them.
A brief thank you and apology to those authors work I borrowed for my opening and worked to my liking. And finally this piece was inspired by my very own Poppy. Happy Birthday!