Saturday, 9 November 2013


Poppy Seller

Buy a poppy, lady?
A few pennies for a poppy?
Please give, just for a poppy.
Won't someone buy a poppy?
Some pennies for a poppy?
Buy a poppy, mister?
Just a poppy sir.

Poppies grow in upturned land 
Such as dug by bombshells. And
Fed by blood and bone manure
They bloom bright red. As pure
As spikes of crimson sun
Flowers fit for everyone...
Buy a poppy, lady?

Retail poppies, up for sale.
Poppies tell a wartime tale.
Poppies peeping where none grow
Hats, and buttonholes also
Buttonholes instead of eyes.
Button-eyed, a whole world cries...
A few pennies for a poppy?

Buttons trimmed with petals red;
Lacquered holdfast to the dead.
Button up and cry inside.
Batten down and seek to hide.
Poppy fields were blooming there
In the smoking, stinking air...
Please give, just for a poppy.

Scarlet petals, blood-like stains;
Black dark pit of stamen grains;
Poppies waving in the breeze;
Poppies writhing into wreaths.
Opium for a suffering few;
Drugged with poppies. Poppies new...
Won't someone buy a poppy?

Black death; red death; poppy bright.
Only death can stop the sight;
Poppy bright evoking blood;
Poppy shining from the mud.
Hope, despair, gut-wrenching fear;
Fleas, disease, and tin-can cheer...
Some pennies for a poppy?

Pretty poppy pepper-pot,
Blood-red petals now forgot,
Shake out far your hard black seeds;
Poppy flowers are not weeds.
Some saw carnage; poppies there.
Shake my can, and show you care...
Buy a poppy mister?

Just a poppy, sir.

© Peter St John


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Thank yew; Ginger Dawn. Peter is real glad yew loike it.

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