Why wear a Poppy
by Don Crawford
"Please wear a poppy", the lady said,
And held one forth, but I shook my head
Then I stopped and watched as she offered them there,
And her face was old and lined with care;
"But beneath the scars the years had made
There remained a smile that refused to fade.
A boy came whistling down the street,
Bouncing along on carefree feet.
"His smile was full of joy and fun,
"Lady" said he "may I have one?"
When she pinned it on, he turned to say:
"Why do we wear a poppy to-day?"
"The lady smiled in her wistful way
And answered: "This is Remembrance Day,
"And the poppy there is a symbol for
The gallant men who died in the war. "
"And because they did, you and I are free
That's why we wear a poppy you see.
I had a boy about your size,
With golden hair and big blue eyes.
"He loved to play and jump and shout
Free as a bird, he would race about.
As the years went by, he learned and grew
And became a man - as you will too. "
"He was fine and strong,
with a boyish smile,
But he'd seemed with us such a little while When war broke out and he went away.
I still remember his face that day.
"When he smiled at me and said good-bye.
'I'll be back soon, Mum, so please don't cry.'
But the war went on and he had to stay
And all l could do was wait and pray.
"His letters told us of the awful fight
(I can see at in my dreams at night),
With the tanks and guns and cruel barbed wire,
And the mines and the bullets, the bombs and the fire."
"That sure did sound like an awful fight,
But your son - did he come back alright?"
A tear rolled down each faded cheek;
She shook her head but didn't speak.
"I slunk away in a sort of shame,
And if you were with me, you'd have done the same;
For our thanks, in giving is aft delayed,
Though our freedom was bought - and thousands paid!
"And so, when we see a poppy worn,
Let us reflect on the burden borne
By those who gave very all
When asked to answer their country's call
That we at home in peace might live.
Then wear a poppy! - and give!
Why Wear A Poppy by Don Crawford
Handwritten in pencil, and on two sheets of foolscap, Don Crawford turned this poem in to the The Perth Courier one morning in the early 1960s, where it first saw print a few days later. For the next several years, and by means unknown, “Why Wear A Poppy” appeared in nearly every weekly newspaper and magazine, including LEGION, in Canada at Remembrance time, as well as foreign publications like Australia’s Anzac Appeal and Scotland’s Claymore magazine, copies of the same being sent to him. Some years ago, Dominion Command of The Royal Canadian Legion, produced it on slides and tape for television and radio. Schools have used it extensively for their Remembrance programs. Donald J. Crawford died in hospital at Perth on Saturday, October 7, 2000.