"In Flanders Fields" is a poem written by John McCrae during the first World War. The poem describes poppies blooming between gravestones. Poppies are considered the battlefield flower, because they are the first to grow back after war pockmarks the landscape. They have become a symbol of remembrance for those who die in battle.
The major theme of the poem is the juxtaposition between life and death, and how quickly the world spins between the two. Although the humans are fighting below, the larks still fly. Larks are songbirds associated with light and joy.
The larks, still bravely singing, fly, Scarce heard amid the guns below.
The poppies represent the fallen soldiers, who died in the days before. They felt the sun, but now they lie beneath the ground.
We are the dead; short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow...
The end of the poem is a call to arms to McCrae's fellow soldiers. They must rally for their fellow soldiers.
If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Overall, the poem touches on the reality of death in battle, but it's an optimistic piece. The poppies mark the place where people died, bright spots in the gloom. The poem addresses those who still live, asserting that they should carry on the torch for their fallen comrades. The themes of life in death are clearly in play here, but the biggest theme is brevity. Life is brief, like a flower's bloom or a lark's song.