Remembrance Day poppies: Hope dies last

A few years ago I planted annual poppy seeds in my garden. That summer I had a luscious display of gorgeous red flowers to look at from my front window. And the next year. And the next year. And this year. Once you have a poppy, you always have poppies. The seeds of poppies, like the seeds of hope, spread wide and determinedly.

In the opening decades of the 20th Century, people spoke of World War I as “the war to end all wars.”

The hopeful words showed disbelief that war of such horrifying magnitude could ever happen again. Now, almost 100 years later, we almost grimace at the naiveté. World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Syria, the Sudan, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, Iraq, drug wars, mafia kills, gang troubles . . . the list goes on. How can we not feel exasperated and want to give up hope? It’s easy to believe that our spears and swords will never be beaten into ploughshares. How is it possible that all weapons to take life will be transformed into weapons to give life?

But “Hope dies last.”

I came across that Russian proverb in The Tiger by John Vaillant, and it rumbled around in my brain this week, because it applies so aptly to Remembrance Day. Soldiers in muddy trenches hoped to live. Nurses and doctors tending the wounded hoped for fewer casualties. Families waiting at home hoped to see loved ones again. Some soldiers died. Nurses and doctors wept at the endless rows of moaning wounded. Some mothers crumpled with grief when handed heartless telegrams.

In every case, their hope was the last thing to die.

But soldiers lived. The rows of wounded came to an end. Teary-eyed mothers clung to returning sons or daughters. Poppy seeds churned up by cannon wheels and horse hooves blossomed as a symbol of hope for “Never Again.

That is why a time to remember the horrors of war and to set a collective mindset toward peace is so important. When we, with our poppies, stand in silence on Remembrance Day, we hope for a little more peace. We hope for one fewer life lost. We hope.


About Arlene Somerton Smith

Writer, laughing thinker, miner of inspirational insights, sports fan, and community volunteer

Posted on November 9, 2012, in Inspiration, Living life to the fullest, metaphor, spirit, story and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Arlene, well said….this brought me to tears. And yes, we always hope.

  2. I like what you say about hope, although poppies do not necessarily mean hope. A friend from Georgia told me that in her country, and apparently also in the Balkans (where she works at the moment) that if poppies grow somewhere, it means that blood has been spilled there. That’s quite sad.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

and the words that echo..

a lot of words...

Hurry Up & Wait

Random thoughts and a collection of ideas, stories and photos

Alex on Faith

Growing in faith together!

Be Different "BUT" Be Yourself

Journey from severe depression - Self healing - Acceptance - Learning - Growth - Connecting - Understanding - learning


« me arrodillo por las noches ante tigres que no me dejarán ser. »

La Audacia de Aquiles

"El Mundo Visible es Sólo un Pretexto" / "The Visible World is Just a Pretext".-

Moral Fibre

Musings of She who Knits in Churches


comida italiana



The Godly Chic Diaries

Smiling • Writing • Dreaming

Be Blogger (Official)

Writing is all about finding the courage to write. And courage is all about realizing that some things are more important than fear.

Yellingrosa's Weblog

Poetry, Visual Arts, Music and IT Tech




Simple made easy! psychology love feeling emotion thought behaviour success strategy

Diary Of A Growing Black Man

Personal website sharing life experiences and vision

Jay Colby

Life, Inspiration & Motivation

Health Sources

Health , Beauty and Food

A Little Blog of Books

Book reviews and other literary-related musings

Reverend Erin

Thoughts on Ministry from a First-Time Minister

%d bloggers like this: