Forget Me Not – 1918

Forget Me Not 1918

Forget Me Not 1918

These pressed flowers were in a book I bought many years ago at a garage sale. I have kept the worm eaten book and these flowers for many years because they are special. I don’t know the story, I don’t know if this was a funeral bouquet for a fallen soldier, or an influenza victim, they may have been grown on the front and sent home to loved-ones, they may have nothing to do with the war: they might be a lovers bouquet, or just some flowers gathered in the springtime….

But I know that they have survived the years and were waiting for me to discover them. What years have passed into the dust of history, great men have risen through the ranks, to command despotic empires that have fallen crumbling into forgetfulness, and these small blooms have waited pressed between the mouldering leaves of a novel on a shelf.

Nations have risen in hope from the turmoil of revolution and then dissolved in chaos back again to rust and neglect, all while these little fragile spots of color waited for someone to notice them. What secrets could they tell us about the frailty of human lives and the short sharp pain of loss, if we would only listen? Someone picked these little springtime flowers and carefully tied them with string, and dated them. They pressed them between the pages of this book, and then time came swirling by and took all the meaning and memory away slowly and with gnawing blunt teeth.

No one knows now why they were picked and preserved, no one knows their story. What whispered lovers secrets were told in their presence?  What fleeting kisses stolen on a secluded hillside awash with verdant springtime rainbows? These little flowers have a story to tell, but no lips to speak them with.

I will keep them so that they will outlive me, and their next discoverer can ponder the abyss of time also.




  1. Very nice musings… Really does make you think. The blooms look like they might be pansies. Timeless species of flower, also.

    1. I thought they might be Pansies also, or some variety of European Violet? They are certainly not the small forget-me-nots that I remember as a kid. Did you read the link about the WWI soldiers who sent pressed flowers back to loved ones at home? I have been wondering if that is the explanation.

  2. Yes, I just now looked at it. It really makes you wonder. Perhaps a young woman did receive these in a letter from a soldier, and the “Forget Me Not” that is underlined so empatheticaly is so she would take the advice to remember him. Then he may have died and she just kept them…. I think they are pansies, though.

  3. No Man’s Land – Eric Bogle

    Well, how’d you do, Private Willie McBride,
    Do you mind if I sit down down here by your graveside?
    I’ll rest for awhile in the warm summer sun,
    Been walking all day, Lord, and I’m nearly done.
    I see by your gravestone you were only nineteen
    When you joined the glorious fallen in 1916,
    I hope you died quick and I hope you died “clean,”
    Or, Willie McBride, was it slow and obscene?

    And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind
    In some faithful heart is your memory enshrined?
    And, though you died back in 1916,
    To that loyal heart are you forever nineteen?
    Or are you a stranger, without even a name,
    Forever enshrined behind some glass pane,
    In an old photograph, torn and tattered and stained,
    And fading to yellow in a brown leather frame?

    Well, the sun’s shining down on these green fields of France;
    The warm wind blows gently, the red poppies dance.
    The trenches have vanished long under the plow;
    No gas and no barbed wire, no guns firing now.
    But here in this graveyard it’s still No Man’s Land;
    The countless white crosses in mute witness stand
    To man’s blind indifference to his fellow man.
    And a whole generation who were butchered and damned.

    And I can’t help but wonder now, Willie McBride,
    Do all those who lie here know why they died?
    Did you really believe them when they told you “the cause?”
    Did you really believe that this war would end wars?
    Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame,
    The killing, the dying, it was all done in vain,
    For Willie McBride, it’s all happened again,
    And again, and again, and again, and again.

  4. Wow, I just checked your website and found this reply in the form of the poem you posted. What a powerful poem, very appropriate for our times, and the post these comments are under. Thanks for putting it here, hope others see it.

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