Once crimson poppies bloomed
out in a foreign field,
each memory reminds
where brutal death was sealed.
The crimson petals flutter down,
still hatred forms a thorny crown.
For in this present time
we wait in vain for peace,
each generation cries,
each longing for release,
while war still plagues the human race
and families seek a hiding place.
How long will human life
suffer for human greed?
How long must race or pride,
wealth, nationhood or creed
be reasons justifying death
to suffocate a nation’s breath?
For everyone who dies
we share a quiet grief,
the pain of loss remains,
time rarely brings relief,
and so we will remember them
and heaven sound a loud amen.
Andrew Pratt (born 1948)
Words: Andrew Pratt (born 1948) © October 2012 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England, www.stainer.co.uk.
Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.
Suggested tunes: Andrew wrote “Once crimson poppies” with “Little Cornard” in mind (StF 172). A suitable alternative is “St Godric” (StF 620)
For the period 2014–2018 all royalties received for use of this hymn will be donated to SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen Families Association) – the National Armed Forces Charity providing support for military families.
Copies may be made for local church use if you hold a current Church Copyright Licence and include the use on your returns to CCLI. Alternatively, you need, prior to use to send £12.00 (£10.00 + VAT) to Stainer & Bell Ltd. This fee will be accepted until 31.12.2018. The making of local church hymn/song books (unless covered by the terms of your Church Copyright Licence) and all wider and commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd. (23 Gruneisen Road, London N3 1DZ. p: 020 8343 3303020 8343 3303; e: firstname.lastname@example.org website; www.stainer.co.uk)
Also see Hymns and war – conflicting views.
[Updated 13 April 2014]