Once upon a time, when I heard the word “poppies”, the song Dr. Demento used to play would run through my head. You know, this one.
Recently, however, I learned that poppies were a metaphor for soldiers fallen in war – a poetic representation of blood on the battlefield. And the Existential Blues didn’t play in my head anymore. I began to think about that metaphor. I began to think about how poppies are prolific. I began to think about how gardeners call desirable plants that grow where they are not planted (or tended) “volunteers”. And a picture grew in my head.
I painted the picture below for a fund-raising auction to support a wonderful non-profit, cooperative preschool – Lakewood United Methodist Preschool, aka “LUMP”. All of my sons have gone there. This painting is titled “Volunteers / We Stormed the Beaches at Normandy”. You can’t really see it unless the light is just right, but in the sky is a letter from Winifred to Henry and in the grass is Henry’s reply. This is an exchange of letters I imagined between a soldier and his wife during WW II. I hope you like it.