A Poppy From an Approved Veteran


“I’m waiting.  I don’t want just any poppy.”

A questioning look.

“I appreciate these volunteers, but, what are they, cadets?”

“You want a grey-haired veteran.”

“Something like that.”

“Give me a few minutes.”

I browse a bookstore.

“Here is your poppy from an approved veteran.”

“Thank you!”

“Will you allow me to do the honors?”  The veteran asks.

I smile.  Rags says thanks too.

Mascot SpeaksThe Mascot Speaks

They say I can’t go back with him,
They say we dogs are banned.
They told him that.  They didn’t think
That I could understand.

I’ve had him pretty near a year,
Since I was just a pup.
I used to be a sort of bum,
And then — he picked me up.

We’ve slept together in the rain,
And snow, too, quite a lot.
Cold nights we kept each other warm
Some days we ate — some not.

Once he went to the hospital,
I followed.  They said, “No.”
He swore a lot and told the doc
Unless I stayed, he’d go.

He’s going to go home pretty soon
And leave me here — oh well —
I wonder if dogs have a heaven?
I know we’ve got a  hell.

~ Rags


Rags.  “The Mascot Speaks.”  The Stars and Stripes, March 21, 1919, American Expeditionary Forces, Paris, France, 1918-1919.
Note:  The Stars and Stripes newspaper featured soldier-authored material.  “The Army’s Poets” column appeared May 3, 1918 and became the newspaper’s most widely read column.  Soldiers submitted more than seventy-five thousand poems and many not selected for publication by The Stars and Stripes were published after the war.

For more information see Library of Congress Collection:  Stars and Stripes: The American Soldiers’ Newspaper of World War I, 1918 to 1919.



21 thoughts on “A Poppy From an Approved Veteran

    1. I agree. The ceremonies and moment of silence are almost a footnote now competing with Christmas sales and so forth. It’s an important part of history that shouldn’t be forgotten.

      I love this poem.

      I’m glad you like it and thanks for reading. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I heard the veterans are asking people to delay putting up Christmas lights until after Nov 11.
        I say no Christmas music before then either(I just heard today that early Christmas music causes depression and stress).

        I once had a customer yapping in my face and mad I was ignoring him at 11am on Remembrance Day.

        I love the whole 21 gun salute, the haunting Last Post song and the reading of Flanders Fields.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. That’s a very reasonable request. Besides, mass-commercialism has gone a bit far.
          The topic of Christmas music deserves its own post — or series. 🙂

          I’d like to see one major retailer take the lead on the minute of silence. (Wasn’t it originally 5?) Store closures might be asking too much.

          A certain Unnamed Mega Coffee chain goes directly from Halloween to Christmas commercialism. It would be great if poppy-themed merchandise appeared in between. Maybe with proceeds going to veterans’ organizations. I’d get behind that.

          Flanders Fields may be featured here. Or, more soldiers’ poetry.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Many stores, especially chain stores and mall stores take down Halloween and put up Christmas.
            They play Christmas music from Nov. 1 onward.
            I could see a Christmas music post or series. As long as it started.on Dec 24 and ended on the 25th.
            That’s how I like my Christmas music. 1 or 2 days max, and only good Christmas songs like Bob & Doug, Cheech & Chong and Bowie & Crosby (I will be doing a post related to the last one I think).

            I agree with the poppy themed donation.

            Yes. I would more.

            Liked by 1 person

  1. There are a lot of young people in the UK who are refusing to wear the poppy because they say it glorifies war. They’re missing the point here as the poppy represents the hell the men in the trenches went through in World War 1. As it’s close to Veteran’s Day in the States, I wrote a piece on my other blog and I ask if I can provide a link here.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I believe the poppy represents the dead soldiers from WW1 in the USA. However, I also believe in the British Colonies (including here in Canada) it represents soldiers killed in any war.

      As for the protesters, they have every right to protest. I would point out to them the fact that they have that right due to the brave men and women that fought to keep our societies free. Without the Allied soldiers, instead of protesting they would be goose stepping and Heil Hitlering. Maybe these people need a history lesson.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Such a unique side of veterans, I liked when I was younger getting the red paper poppy to put on my coat’s collar. The donation went to the veteran’s associations. Now, I donate to wounded warriors, paralyzed vets and the local VFW. I like that we don’t forget the service to our country and we don’t forget the wars either. I prefer to concentrate on No More Wars! 🕊 ❤ 🕊

    Liked by 1 person

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