When the earth is quiet, little do we know how much is tucked away, sleeping beneath the surface. Yet, when the soil is churned to plant corn, there is often a colourful surprise, as poppies stir and burst into life. It’s the same on battlefields. Explosions, chaos, the trampling of feet – when the ground seems heavy with war, this fragile flower with its tissue-like petals resiliently emerges to remind us that life will always triumph.
To the Persians, poppies were known as the flower of love, synonymous with those who died for love. In Greek mythology, the goddess of the harvest, Demeter, in her grief, created the poppy to help her sleep after her daughter Persephone was abducted by Hades to live with him in the Underworld. And since the 1920s, the poppy’s determination to grow in battlefields has made it the symbol of remembrance for us. Love, sleep and death. The poppy is the deeply romantic hero who comes to save the day but can never stay to marry the heroine.
The poppy’s edible seeds have been used for centuries for their analgesic properties. Ancient Egyptian doctors prescribed the seeds to help ease the pain of sore muscles and headaches. The seeds are also rich in zinc, which is believed to help speed up recovery and even maintain eyesight. All the better to see you with, my dear.