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A Late Reply to In Flanders Fields (1987)

A Late Reply to In Flanders Fields (1987)

Source: Dallas Denny. (2001, June).A late reply to In Flanders Fields. Stehekin II, 4.








A Late Reply to In Flanders Fields

By Dallas Denny


In college I read John McCrea’s 1915 poem about World War I and a number of  period responses, also in rondeau form.

Neither McCrea’s work or the responses reflected my own feelings. Here are the original, a jingoistic response written soon afterward by R.W. Lilliard, and my late (by 72 years!) reply.


In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields

Believed to have been written by Lt. Col. John McRae, 1915


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

America's Answer

America’s Answer

R.W. Lilliard

(A Typical Poetic Response)


REST YE in peace, ye Flanders dead.

The fight that ye so bravely led

We’ve taken up. And we will keep

True faith with you who lie asleep

With each a cross to mark his bed,

In Flanders fields.


Fear not that ye have died for naught

The torch ye threw to us we caught.

Ten million hands will hold it high

And Freedom’s light shall never die!

We’ve learned the lesson that ye taught

In Flanders fields.

A Late Reply to In Flanders Fields

A Late Reply to In Flanders Fields

By Dallas Denny


In Flanders fields we lie, the dead

Where late we lived and fought, and bled

For God and country faced our foe

And offered up, were glad to go

To Flanders fields.


And all the politicians’ games

To we young men were all the same

For we cared not the reason why

Our numbers called, we went to lie

In Flanders fields.


So blindly we lined up to fight

And turn the dawn of youth to night

We did not know, yet we believed

Our causes just– we were deceived

To Flanders fields.


And now our causes are forgot

And in the end, it mattered not

We lie in dirt and decompose

And push up poppies in those rows

Yet would again be glad to go

To Flanders fields.