Poppies by Jane Weir

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Poppies by Jane Weir

Subject: The poem is set in the present day but reaches back to the beginning of the poppy tradition. The poem was written during the first world war when british soldiers were dying in Iraq and Afganistan.

The poem is about the nature of grief. The women is direclty speaking to her son. But a son who shifts in time.

- the son who leaves home for school for the first time

- the son who has just been killed

- beneath the surface the son dying violenlty in a field hospital in Afganistan

The present holds to much pain for the mother and her memories can only be expressed in the past which is full of safety and with her son.

The mother reflects on the time when she pinned a poppy on her sons lapel before he…




OK. Let me get one thing straight: Poppies was not written 'when British Soldiers were dying in World War One in Iraq and Afghanistan' as that makes very little sense for WW1 ended in 1918. I understand why reference has been made however, Weir was partly inspired by Wilfred Owens mother - Wilfred Owen was a famous poet who died in WW1 (he wrote Exposure - also in the anthology) - and all women who are left behind. The poem was published in a collection in the Guardian newspaper in 2009. Weir gave a voice to the women who are left behind but are still affected by war. This collection was published around the time of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan so I understand again why reference has been made here and this part of the point is relatively, factually correct. Perhaps in future proof read work before publishing.

Second: At no point does the poem say the son is dead. It has more than one meaning. On the one hand, he could well be dead but on the other he could just be away and she misses him because he is on his first tour of duty and she has never known life without him. Alternatively he could be M.I.A. and she is worried for his life.

Essentially, the poem is Wier's way of giving the women who are left behind a voice. The main idea is to show the sense of loss felt either when someone dies in action or when they are away in action in a war zone and the worry of not knowing what is happening/has happened to them.



Here is my breakdown of the poem:

Poppies - SPITS Breakdown

Just for a different perspective.

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