Words | Rhys Smith
You see the hearts of our passed brothers and sisters
have fed the poppies blooming on their graves
– nameless in valour as in death.
But for all the red poppies in Flanders Fields
there are those that don’t get to flower
– black in nature and in name.
The first blood of this nation left to die,
to be forgotten underneath a field of red poppies
– never to have their stories told.
Their graves are marked instead by inverted flowers,
poppies growing black beneath the surface,
roots twisted around their hearts and heads
– much like the red poppies flowering above.
How could we turn our backs?
We’ve forgotten the blood of the first,
we’ve forgotten what they sacrificed
for a country that beat them red.
I’m not asking for us to forsake the red poppies
on the memorial walls, but to give
our hearts and heads to the black poppies
– to remember their petals and their fall.
In my dreams I see my grandmother,
the Yuin blood flowing through her veins,
talking to me as she places a single black poppy in a vase.