I’ve seen poppy pins everywhere this week – when I went into town yesterday they were being sold on every street corner, and it was a rare to see a coat or jumper unadorned by one. I’ve bought one, as that’s what you’re meant to do, but I’m not sure if I agree with the act of wearing one. This doubt came into mind when I was listening to a Radio 2 debate programme, in which the poppies that I’ve grown up wearing were discouraged.
Firstly, we wear poppies because those who fought in Belgium and northern France noticed how persistently the flower bloomed in the area. Very sadly, the bones of the dead are still collected as the farmers plough such fields. The poppy became a recurring image in the war poetry that resulted from the combat, particularly in John MacRae’s In Flanders Fields: