Field Poppy (Papaver rhoeas)

This photo was also from the new children’s playground at Ada Ciganlija. The poppies were growing on a hill in the center of the park. I see them along roadsides all throughout Serbia.

They have a long history with agriculture and are a symbol of fertility. It is a  successful weed on farms. They are annuals that flower and seed before the agricultural grains are harvested. Poppy seeds are used to decorate breads.

The poppy also associated with World War I. They bloomed on many of the fields on the Western Front and today are assoicated with Veteran’s Days around the world.Below is the poem written by a Canadian WWI soldier a day after he witnessed his friend die in the war.

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.

Lt.-Col. John McCrae (1872 – 1918)
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