In Flanders Fields

This comes late for 7/28, though the poem itself likely explains why. Let this be of health to those who have been wandering astray, as I have been. For those otherwise confident in their deeds, let this sober us to the value and purpose of our lives.


Lord, I kneel before Thy throne,
Judgment seat and scales’ rest,
To present myself, and beg Thy mercy.

Lord, why when was I born,
In comfort to dwell,
In leisure to ‘cline,
No sergeant in sight,
Bellyful of fat and fancy,
Rather of lead and iron.

Lord of Hosts and Laughter,
Why was I these gifts
Unfairly given,
‘Llowed to live my life
As a son of delinquence?

Marshal of Heaven,
Answer my piteous self,
For so many died
In the storm of steel,
Beneath shell and hail,
In mud and blood
to make of themselves
A feast for rats and worms.

And here I sit at ease,
All pleasure and leisure
No more than a finger away;
What men died for others to steal,
I have free to excess.
What right have I to luxury?
What right have I to pleasure?
What right have I to disobey?

How can I live for pleasure
While they rest in Flanders’ fields?

My Lord, Commander, and Judge,
Redeem me:
Redeem my time, redeem my flesh,
The hours I’ve squandered,
The life I’ve wasted;
The dreams undreamt,
The prayers unprayed;
Let me remember why poppies grow
In Flanders’ Fields,
And why flowers bloom,
On Golgotha’s Hill.


For those, like me, who missed the significance of the intended original date of this post, 7/28 marks the beginning of the First World War. I will not comment here on the Great War’s significance in the course of history, though it marks the beginning of the end for the West. That is a subject for an essay (likely several) and another time.

My wish is that this poem, rambling as it is, would help us reflect on the conduct of our lives. Those of you who follow our risen Christ, I would ask your prayers for a stranger, that my deeds would echo the words I have written here, and my life would follow the Word He brought for us.

 

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