Tuesday, July 10, 2007

On quoting poetry, the Globe blows

Did headline writers make common mistake in referencing "In Flanders Fields?"

The Globe and Mail's headline writers have titled Jeffrey Simpson's column today, "In Afghan fields the poppies grow between the crosses, row on row," obviously intending to reference the opening lines of "In Flanders Fields."

But they are lines in which the word "grow" is often incorrectly substituted for "blow." Here is the correct text, courtesy of the Royal Canadian Legion website:


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McCrae

Of course it could be argued that "grow" fits better with Simpson's topic, the continued poppy trade in Afghanistan, but unfortunately the headline perpetuates an all-too-common error in quoting what is probably the best-known poem in Canadian history.


Lemon said...

Notices a booboo in NYC a couple of years ago.

Note the text on the picture of the Doughboy momument.

Joan Tintor said...

Ha. Thanks.