The Poppy

Composer Thomas Crawley, poet Jane Taylor

High on a bright and sunny bed
A scarlet poppy grew
And up it held its staring head,
And thrust it full in view.
Yet no attention did it win,
By all these efforts made,
And less unwelcome had it been
In some retired shade.
Although within its scarlet breast
No sweet perfume was found,
It seemed to think itself the best
Of all the flowers round,
From this I may a hint obtain
And take great care indeed,
Lest I appear as pert and vain
As does this gaudy weed.

I found it interesting how before WW1 the Poppy was viewed as a weed, rather than how it is viewed today as a symbol of remembrance. I wanted to make the music have an earth like quality because of this, as though the Poppy can’t be removed from the soil of a garden. The music is restrained as the line “Lest I appear as pert and vain” suggests a restrained quality. The poem itself struck me as melancholic, so I wanted to reflect some of that sadness in the music.