Power to the Poppy


I write from time to time for The Huffington Post. Below is my latest article on the Poppy and Remembrance time:


‘Tower of London poppies: the English language does not have the words to describe something as powerful as this.’ This Telegraph title grabbed me. It was so purposeful, so honest, so perfect. It’s also a victory for all those who argue that art is incredibly important. We cannot neglect art’s necessity for communicating the complicated issues that science and maths simply cannot. For all the STEM champions some immeasurable things are just as important, and even more so, such as everything the poppy symbolises.

The art installation has attracted people in their droves and there is a petition for it to continue so more can experience it. The loss of life, suffering and sacrifice experienced by those 100 years ago and today is just as horrific and incomprehensible and both should be remembered equally during this Remembrance time. The poppies at the Tower of London are incredibly sobering. Every poppy I see reminds me that the democracy and country we live in, and often complain about, is something to be immensely grateful for. So many gave their lives so we could have the freedom to make the most of our lives and it is our responsibility to be appreciative and explore the opportunities that come with this. The feeling the poppy evokes in us of something which happened so long ago, in a different era, in what seems like a different world is something so difficult to articulate. Writing about the poppy is difficult, the Telegraph title is right. That is why we have the poppy. Something interlaced with nature, with art and with respect. As we turn on the news and hear about the atrocities happening to people in other countries at the hands of their own governments I am immensely appreciative of the politically stable and secure country we live in. Some may argue with this but it is the freedom that so many fought for. We owe it to them to vote, to take responsibility for ourselves and others and work to make things better. We can moan, we are British, after all, but appreciate the freedom so permanently fought for by those who sacrificed so much.

It is difficult to articulate the feeling of appreciation. It is a far more complicated than simple anger or sadness. Appreciation is the knowledge of history and your place in it. That is hard to talk about and when you feel that words such as ‘sacrifice’ and ‘honour’ have been overused the poppy is your articulation. The paper flower inspires remembrance of what it symbolises and this communicates what the wearer would fail to clarify if using words. The Telegraph’s title was perfect, the English language, nor do I do think any language, has the words to describe something so powerful as the memory that the poppy symbolises. A picture is worth a thousand words and the blood red poppy speaks most powerfully of all. Although multiple pins and poppies are lost throughout the remembrance time please do continue to buy poppies as every donation goes towards a truly worthy cause, to those it is difficult to articulate your immense appreciation.

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