TBPL Staff Poetry Favourites

photo copyright Planet Millie
photo copyright Planet Millie

To celebrate National Poetry Month, we’re featuring the favourite poems or poets of Thunder Bay Public Library Staff.

John Pateman, our Chief Librarian/CEO, is a big fan of Great War poetry. His favourite poem is In Flanders Fields by Canadian John McCrae – and he even has a personal connection:

John’s brother, Tom, was a doctor at Orpington Hospital in England during the Great War. I lived most of my life in Orpington and I have written a book about Orpington Hospital which was built by the Ontario government in 1916 as the Ontario Military Hospital. So there is a direct link between me, Orpington and Ontario.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Click here to see books by and about John McCrae available at TBPL, and click here to visit The Great War website with more details about John McCrae and further history about the poppy as a symbol.

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