While countries are easing their Covid-19 restrictions, leading to the end of the Pandemic, the poppy symbolises the end of the War. Last week I wrote a daily parallel between the Great War and the Great Pandemic, from ‘They shall not forget, for they shall not pass the line’ until today’s flowering poppy.
The Great War was a period of atrocity, unpredictability, and cruelty caused by human hubris. Yet, those four years are symbolised in a single bright orange-red flower: the poppy. As simple as its shape is, as complex is its meaning.
Why a poppy became the symbol of the Great War is as much a legend as legendary. The poppy in all its simplicity, a straight stern ending in a circle of orange-red fire, was one of the only plants that was able to grow on the heavily polluted and destroyed battle fields.
Where dead and terror had taken away any other possible kind of life, the poppy found her way. As such, the poppy symbolises persistence and resilience. Where life seemed to be impossible, the poppy made the impossible possible.
It did not go unnoticed by the mourning soldiers, among which the poet-physicist John McCrae who spotted the bright poppies while handing over his comrade to the other world. He wrote a poem on it. His writing became world famous, and so did the poppies in Flanders’ fields.
Softening of Evil
The poppy was remarkable on that funeral, because it was a contradiction. The poppy is the beauty on top of the evil, the softening of the hard battle field. It opens up the hearts and gives a safe space for mourning, regardless the many atrocities and inhumanities. Where so many hearts were toughened, and emotions were drained, the poppy found its way to the closed-off hearts and lost souls, as it had found its way through the infertile soil.
This too shall pass
Therefore, the poppy does what all flowers do, but with more value: it presents springtime, moreover, it presents hope. In its bright orange-red colour it represents a fiery hope that must sparkle the hope in the hearts of the people; like igniting the fire when only smouldering coals were left.
The poppy presents the cycle of life. The variation of the seasons. After every winter springtime will return; after everything had died-off, life will eventually return; after the fields had suffered the unimaginable, the poppy would find its way to flower.
The end in sight
Therefore, every year when the poppy flowers again, we are remembered of those four years of cruelty; the losses, and the lessons.
Countries are easing their restrictions. The fear, the anxiety, the precautions are lessening, but when this is all over, we should not forget the lessons learned by corona either. As the flowering poppy year after year, reminds us of World War I, we should not forget how a small virus was able to force mankind on its knees; how we had to stood together, slow down, and bound, to bounce back.
When this is all over, we should not only forget the lives taken, but as well the lessons learned.
If we wake up tomorrow in the world after Corona, let’s not forget what just happened. Let’s take the memories and the messages with us. Let’s look in the mirror covid-19 has held our societies; let’s look up to the Day after Tomorrow, and remember which elements we should change; the ones we can change; and the ones we will change.
Watching the poppy flowering, let’s write the blueprint for the day after tomorrow, when the Covid-winter is over, and our world starts reviving.
This article is part of the series of Hope in Times of Corona. Read
- how this times of self-isolation should not mean loneliness,
- how you can contribute to this battle,
- how gratitude lights up the dark,
- how united we will stand strong
- on the most util strategy in awake of a crisis
- how I got blown of my feet as well, but caught by many caring hands,
- how being calm can get us through the storm.
- about Love in Times of Corona
- how to discover your own talents
- why we need stories to hold on to
- how you can be creative and innovative.
- how to spend your mot valuable assets in times of Corona.
- how to listen to the sound of silence.
- How breate taking Corona really is.
- discover the other freedoms Corona has shown us,
- about the new-born freedom Corona gave us.
- about another way to exceed your personal bubble.
- about the position of nature in this entire story
- about nature bouncing back
- about the crucial choice between resilience and resistance
- about the game to play
- about star gazing in dark times
- About looking for Meaning
- about what Easter and Corona have in Common
- About the Shark and the Turtle
- About the Irony of Distance
- Why to Hold on
- Fake News
- about The Big Unknown we live at
- about Feeling Alive
- about what the Birthday of my nephew learned me about life
- About where we should go from here?
- About the Great War and the Great Pandemic, and we should not forget
- about history’s most important message, echoed by corona
- How one country could rule them all
- About how to prevent the next Green Pandemic
- about how we are experiencing a new episode of our history books
Or wait until tomorrow, when I’ll shine another light on yet another positive corner of this dark times.