Saturday, May 28, 2011

The campaign of poppies. . .

Poppies in Sunlight II

by Andrea Kahn

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      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.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae ~

Blessed Memorial Day. This is the poem that launched what I call the Campaign of Poppies. Every year we see a vet out in front of the store with a can and a handful of paper poppies. I did again this year and had nothing to give. I felt horrible for two reasons. 1. I recognize that our vets are not exactly taken care of well upon returning from service by the people who sent them ( our government) 2. The paper poppy on the antenna of my car has long since been bleached out by the sun. It is an unrecognizable slip of paper that was once a glorious reminder that someone had the courage to step up to the line and give their life to defend the constitution that states our basic human rights. My poppy really needs to be replaced.

He was a grandfatherly figure standing in front of the store as I needed to quickly get in and out. He probably is someone's grandfather. I would have stopped and given him something for his can had I had any cash on me. Alas, I had nothing. He politely smiled and probably knew two things: I was indeed in a rush and probably really had nothing. . .  I didn't even have my magic pennies on me as I have taken them out of my purse to get them ready for a penny game soon.

I felt even worse coming out of the store greeting him again. I caught a straight, focused gaze with him and said thank you. He smiled and told me I was welcome. I then had to hurry away, but his face still remains in my mind. I will never be caught without an offering for the poppy can again. As of today, I have resolved to come up with a ritual offering of coin: 4 quarters, 4 dimes ( the ones with torches), 4 nickels, and a copper penny ( pre 1982). Thirteen coins, thirteen moons in a year, thirteen the number of death in the tarot. I will place them on the Death card upon my altar and offer my thanks to those who died in service then offer the coins to the one who holds the poppies in of the store. If I have more to give at the moment I will, but the coins I want to put forth as an offering and have them available once a year as tribute to the dead and sustenance for those who remain and require care. I realize it's a small offering, maybe even financially meaningless, but having a family on a tight budget sometimes leaves nothing to give on the spur of the moment. I want to change that.

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