Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cornflower and Battlefields

cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) or bleuet des champs in our garden last summer

Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) is the symbol for les poilus (French veterans of World War I). And since the 1918 Armistice Day is celebrated today, I thought of posting a few photos of the cornflowers we had last summer.

And I think this flower is an appropriate symbol for the French infantrymen who fought during World War I. The battles were generally fought in the fields of the northern part of France. And cornflowers usually grow in these grain fields. And not only that, the plants with their abundant and intense-colored flower, robustness, and vitality are like the infantrymen whose spirit and bravery withstood the harsh, desolate life in the trenches.

One of my favorite films, Un Long Dimanche de Fiançailles (A Very Long Engagement) tells the stories and experiences of several poilus as subplots. And the nickname of the male lead character, a poilu, is “Bleuet” (cornflower) --- a reference to his eyes. It may be conjecture on my part, but I think the author of the novel (the movie was based on the book with the same title by Sébastien Japrisot) gave this nickname to his lead character as homage to the many young men who fought in The Great War (WWI). “Bleuet” is a young man full of hopes who is sent to the frontline, leaving his family, loved ones and a life filled with promises. And as history shows, many of these abled men did not make it back to their homes and families.

So, to the French poilus and other veterans who fought in World War I, rest in peace and we salute you for your courage and patriotism.


sweet bay said...

Beautiful post and your pictures are fantastic.

The Bumbles said...

Lovely - in images and in words.

lareine said...

sweet bay and the bumbles: thank you very much... it feels good to be appreciated :)

AnnA said...

Hi Lareine!
Oh, what a cornflowerpicture!/

lareine said...

thanks AnnA!

Anonymous said...

Head of Fundraising
Wonderful pics Lareine!
The symbol for Garden House Hospice (Letchworth Garden City) is the cornflower.
I would very much like to use one of the images as a 'Thank you' card to send to our donors.
Please let me know if OK and at what cost re copyright

lareine said...

hello mr. roberts! thank you for your interest! well, this reply is rather late but i just couldn't let comments/questions go unanswered=)...

well, as i've said in my email, it's for free and the higher resolution images are already in your inbox! more power to you and Garden House Hospice!

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