Blood swept lands and seas of red

IMG_0575 croppedI’m interrupting the tale of my parents’ journey around China to tell you about this installation at the Tower of London.  Like Unwoven Light, I first read about it on Colossal and have now been to visit.

The Derby based ceramic artist Paul Cummins has made 888,246 ceramic poppies to commemorate each of the British and Colonial fatalities in the First World War.  Stage designer Tom Piper had designed their display in the dry moat around the Tower of London.  The installation started on 5 August 2014, the centenary of the declaration of war and will be completed on 11 November 2014, the anniversary of the end of the war in 1918.


The poppies are being planted by volunteers and you can volunteer through this page to plant poppies on a Thursday or Sunday between now and 25 October.  The ceramic poppies are also for sale, despatched to their owners after 11 November 2014.  You can buy one for £25 each from this page

Update:  I went and planted poppies on 23rd October and wrote about that here, and all the poppies are sold.

The inspiration for the installation was a WW1 poem by an unknown Soldier:

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red

The blood swept lands and seas of red,

Where angels dare to tread.

As I put my hand to reach,

As God cried a tear of pain as the angels fell,

Again and again.

As the tears of mine fell to the ground

To sleep with the flowers of red

As any be dead

My children see and work through fields of my

Own with corn and wheat,

Blessed by love so far from pain of my resting

Fields so far from my love.

It be time to put my hand up and end this pain

Of living hell. To see the people around me

Fall someone angel as the mist falls around

And the rain so thick with black thunder I hear

Over the clouds, to sleep forever and kiss

The flower of my people gone before time

To sleep and cry no more

I put my hand up and see the land of red,

This is my time to go over,

I may not come back

So sleep, kiss the boys for me


1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.