Poppies to remember (website only)

A hymn for Remembrance Sunday

Poppies to remember
lives laid down in war -
hopes and bodies broken,
wounds forever raw.
Red and white and purple
tell of what’s been lost,
summon us to silence
as we count the cost.

Help us to remember
now and every day
sacrifice and service,
Lord of life, we pray.

“Do this to remember,”
Jesus tells his friends;
by his death securing
life that never ends.
Broken like his body,
bread on which we dine;
blood that’s shed for us
recalled again in wine.

Help us to remember…

Jesus, we remember
this the debt we owe;
and we pledge our service,
that the world may know
all that leads to freedom,
all that makes for peace.
Let your Kingdom come, Lord!
Let all bloodshed cease!

Help us to remember…

Words © Dominic Grant, September 2010

Metre: 65.65.D. with refrain

Suggested tunes: St Gertrude (H&P 718). Alternatively, the refrain may be omitted and the hymn sung to Evelyns (StF 317 ii; H&P 74 i)

For use at an all-age communion service for Remembrance Sunday. Notes on the colours and significance of the poppies mentioned in verse 1 can be found at The Royal British Legion / Peace Pledge Union / Animal Aid. (NB Animal Aid no longer sell purple poppies, for reasons they explain, but they can be obtained through the War Horse Memorial website and elsewhere.)

Asked about the possible ommission of verse 2 when Holy Communion is not being celebrated, Dominic writes: “I think I’d be uncomfortable with omitting v.2 entirely: partly because I always feel a 2-verse hymn feels rather short(!); but more significantly because doing so would skew our remembrance of “this the debt we owe” (v.3) far more towards casualties of war than towards the person and work of Jesus Christ. A balance between these objects of remembrance (or better, remembering wartime sacrifice through the lens of remembering Christ’s sacrifice) was really my intention in writing the hymn.”

Note from author:
Feel free to reprint this hymn for one-off, or occasional, non-profit use. Please let me know if you do so (revdsgrant@gmail.com), and remember to credit the author!

Categories: 65.65.D. and refrain, Eucharistic, Evelyns, Grant, Dominic, Holy Communion, Hymns only online (submit to stfplus@methodistchurch.org.uk), Remembrance, Remembrance Sunday.

5 Responses to Poppies to remember (website only)

  1. Mervyn Brown says:

    We are including this hymn in our Remembrance Service. As the organist I can’t quite equate the suggested tunes i.e. St Gertrude / Evelyn which can’t capture the more gentle mood called for in those beautiful meditative words.
    I intend to use Noel Nouvelet(H&S 204-STF 524) which, by playing 2 notes instead of the minim at the beginning of the 3rd line – is ideally suited. At the end of the last verse I shall play again the first two lines of the hymn and to which we will sing the refrain with which to finish. Maybe sounds unnecessarily complicated but I think it better reflects the intentions of the composer

  2. graham axford says:

    used ‘Poppies to remember’ on Sunday as part of a remembrance service I took at Sevenways Methodist Church, Stretford.
    I printed out the words and also projected them as part of my powerpoint presentation.
    I forewarned the organist for the tune, which she was happy playing.
    hymn went quite well considering it was a first for the congregation.
    author was duly credited on both sheets and slide.
    does it need declaring on returns for public performance ?

    • Editor says:

      Thank you, Graham – that’s always wise, so that if the hymn is registered with CCLI (whch it may or may not be), then it can be dealt with appropriately.

  3. Marjorie Coyles says:

    I hope to use this hymn on Remembrance Sunday as a one-off as I am preaching at my town centre church. Not looked at the possible tunes yet but the words are excellent.
    Thank you for making it available.

    • Editor says:

      That’s good to hear, Marjorie. Both tunes are very familiar from their use with other well-known hymns – but if you choose an alternative, it would be interesting to hear what you go with.

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