The poppy has become the emblem of the British war dead, the cornflower (bleuet) is the emblem of the French.
There were poppies once
along the bank beneath the hedge,
they cut them down,
the poppies and the blackthorn too
to make it easier for machines
to mow and plough, and all the red
ephemera a memory.
We used to know once why we wept,
and why we praised the countless dead,
those young men who will not grow old,
whose bones lie cold.
Cut down like poppies on the bank ,
they died like heroes in the mud,
so we could start another war
and kill so many millions more.
Red poppies used to grow, they say,
but progress blew them all away.