“The Dead Marshes”: The Post-War Landscape of France and Flanders

In the second book of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, “The Two Towers”, Frodo and Gollum pass through the Dead Marshes where, “The only green was the scum of livid weed on the dark greasy milky surfaces of the sullen waters. Dead grasses and rotting reeds loomed up in the mists like ragged shadows of long forgotten summers.”. The author of the trilogy, J.R.R. Tolkien later attributed his marsh landscape to the fields of Northern France after the Somme, where he had fought as a second lieutenant with the Lancashire Fusiliers.  Continue reading ““The Dead Marshes”: The Post-War Landscape of France and Flanders”

“In Flanders fields”: Poppies and the tradition of remembrance

[Canada] "If ye break faith", Frank Lucien Nicolet. [1918]. Courtesy McMaster University Libraries, Identifier: 00001805
[Canada] “If ye break faith”, Frank Lucien Nicolet. [1918]. Courtesy McMaster University Libraries, Identifier: 00001805
We in Canada are used to seeing poppies on lapels this time of year. It’s a immediate signal that Remembrance Day is near, and that the time of commemorative activities has begun. On this Remembrance Day, I  would like to take a moment to write about why the poppy gain significance in the 20th century, and how it has become a symbol of commemoration throughout North American and the Commonwealth.  Continue reading ““In Flanders fields”: Poppies and the tradition of remembrance”