The Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red
By an 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
How do you write about such a breathtaking, moving and humbling sight? Where do you even start? How do you capture such beauty and the emotions that it leaves within you? When you arrive at the Tower of London these days, you will be overwhelmed by an undulating sea of red. Ceramic poppies flowing through the green grass and gradually drowning the ground below in crimson. The sight will take your breath away, and you will feel shivers down your spine, when you see a wave of red sweeping across the causeway, and flowing through the Tower’s window, spilling across the land. You will not be able to help your eyes watering over the realisation that each of the poppies is a symbol of one life lost during the horrifying war. The First World War that claimed almost 900,000 British lives. The sea of red that crashes against the Tower’s walls is like the sea of blood of those who fought for our future.
Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, named after a poem written by an unknown soldier, is an evolving artistic installation in the Tower ’s dry moat. It was created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper to commemorate the hundred years since the outbreak of the Great War. It will continue to grow until the moat is filled with 888,246 ceramic poppies. The last poppy will be planted on Armistice Day, 11 November 2014. Until then every evening, at sunset, names of a few chosen soldiers who were killed in the War are read from The Roll of Honour. The poignant ceremony is then concluded by The Last Post call played by a military bugler.
What a beautiful, heart-warming and dignified way to honour those who lost their lives so that we can live on. How can we ever pay back this unimaginable debt? It is impossible. All we can do is our best and live to give back what we have been given. A chance to have a fulfilling life. It is the least we can do comparing to what those who died did for us. Let’s never forget that.
I will always remember the inscription on the war memorial outside the Teddington Memorial Hospital. I might not have been born and bred in England, but it is my home now. It is deep in my heart, and I want to keep it that way. For me and those who live here with me.
Live Ye For England, We For England Died
Blood Swept Lands
I May Not Come Back
Like Tears Fallen To The Ground
Until The Blood Runs Dry
The Seas Of Red
Row On Row The Poppies Flow
Through The Heaven’s Gate
To Sleep With The Flowers Of Red
Thousands Of Memories
Remember Us, We Died For You
Tears Of Pain
The Land Was Drowned In Red
To Sleep And Cry No More