Monday, August 04, 2014

888,246 poppies - Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red is the name of the art installation in the moat at the Tower of London which will be officially unveiled tomorrow. 888,246 ceramic poppies spill out into the Moat and encircle the Tower of London.  Each poppy symbolises a British military fatality during the war.

The Tower of London's longest serving Yeoman Warder planted the first poppy
in this major centenary commemoration on 17 July 2014
Photo: © Richard Lea-Hair/Historical Royal Palaces
The installation has been created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins. He's be assisted by stage designer Tom Piper.

YS Crawford Butler
planted the very first poppy on 17 July 2014
Photo: © Richard Lea-Hair/Historical Royal Palaces
It will be officially unveiled tomorrow - on 5th August to mark one hundred years since the first full day of Britain’s involvement in the First World War. The last poppy will symbolically be planted on 11 November 2014

The intention is that the scale of the installation should appropriately reflect the scale of loss of life in the First World War - and that it should provide an inspiring setting for learning activities, as well as providing a location for personal reflection.

You can see the impact of the hundreds of thousands of poppies in articles in a number of papers. These are the best ones:
This year you can buy a ceramic poppy rather than a buttonhole poppy if you'd like to commemorate the war dead.  You can register interest in buying a poppy here
  • The poppies are available to buy for £25 (+p&p) from 5 August 2014. 
  • 10% from each poppy, plus all net proceeds will be shared equally amongst six service charities. 
  • The charities chosen are 
    • Confederation of Service Charities (COBSEO), 
    • Combat Stress, 
    • Coming Home, 
    • Help for Heroes, 
    • Royal British Legion and 
    • SSAFA (formerly the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association).
The title of the installation comes from a poem by an unknown solider
    The Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red By Anon – Unknown Soldier

    The blood swept lands and seas of red,
    Where angels dare to tread.
    As I put my hand to reach,
    As God cried a tear of pain as the angels fell,
    Again and again.

    As the tears of mine fell to the ground
    To sleep with the flowers of red
    As any be dead

    My children see and work through fields of my
    Own with corn and wheat,
    Blessed by love so far from pain of my resting
    Fields so far from my love.

    It be time to put my hand up and end this pain
    Of living hell, to see the people around me
    Fall someone angel as the mist falls around
    And the rain so thick with black thunder I hear
    Over the clouds, to sleep forever and kiss
    The flower of my people gone before time
    To sleep and cry no more

    I put my hand up and see the land of red,
    This is my time to go over,
    I may not come back
    So sleep, kiss the boys for me

    1 comment:

    Vandy said...

    Today felt like the right day to go and have a look at this. It is a sobering sight, but also a beautiful tribute to the unimaginable number of lives sacrificed.

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