In the poem "In Flanders Field," by John McCrae, the overriding images are of order and bucolic beauty. The scene is a cemetery, with poppies growing between row upon row of crosses, while in the sky above, larks fly "bravely" by. The peaceful scene is deceiving, however, and the song of the larks can barely be heard over the sound of "the guns below."
The speakers of the words of the poem are the Dead, those killed in the war. Just days ago, they were living and able to enjoy the natural beauty of the earth and human relationships - they "lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow," but now, alas, they lie beneath the crosses in Flanders Field.
The sinister and tragic undertones beneath the peaceful scene of poppies and pristine white crosses bring home to the reader the meaning of the poem. The sound of the guns and the voices of the Dead are not far removed from the images of serenity, emphasizing the vulnerability of life and how quickly it can be extinguished. Also, the image of the torch provides a stark reminder of duty, a plea by the dead that those who remain on earth and still enjoy the loveliness of life take up the cause for which they died. If those who live on fail to act in their stead, the Dead will not rest, despite the peaceful appearance of their final resting place in Flanders Field.