Hypoppycrisy

I’ll not wear a poppy.
I used to; in years gone by
I would blindly conform
To the conventions
Of society.

But now I notice
So many people policing,
Shaming the objectors.
I will not be coerced
And so I will remain
Poppy free.

Those who insist
That all must display
This symbol of past wars
Are denying others
The very freedom
That they say so many
Died to protect.

I need no paper flower
To call to mind
Such sacrifice. But
Foremost in my thoughts
Are those swept up
In conflict’s tumult.

I cannot help but think
Of other times and places
Where people were forced
To wear some symbol.

Or where refusal
To overtly demonstrate
Allegiance: wear the badge,
Join the Party,
Was cause for suspicion,
Detention,
Torture,
Murder.

So I condemn those
Who would deny
Freedom of choice,
Freedom of conscience,
And I will go poppy-free:
A conscientious objector.

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5 thoughts on “Hypoppycrisy

      • Another great quote that relates to this is (possibly paraphrased – see note below):

        “Peacetime rarely lives up to the sacrifices made in War”

        And this shaming is one of those issues that fall into this purview. We need to be mindful of our thinking and behaviour and realise that it was such unclear thinking that led to the wars in the first place. I have a name for such folk: ecofascists. A bit strong maybe, but it is easy to slide into a peacetime complacency that just leads to more war in the end and such thinking needs startling out of its easy complacency. This is NOT a small issue. (Time for me to make another post probably!)

        (Ironically I have tried and failed to remember or find the quote author’s name, apart from knowing he was a high ranking RAF officer and that I may have paraphrased the exact words. If I find his name I will reply with the exact details – unless someone knows his name)

  1. Beautifully put Alex – thank you for expressing EXACTLY my own disquiet with the totalitarianism of the poppy too. I could never have found the words! This question of totalitarian memorials was raised by an expert academic in a conference I attended in May this year. Your poem gets to the heart of why poppy bashing is so very troubling.

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