Essex Farm Cemetery – Flanders

 Flanders Fields Poem Plaque

Lt Col John McCrae


Purchase Lesson Plan #2

In Flanders Fields Analysis


flanders fields poem plaque“The larks, still bravely singing fly,
scare heard amid the guns below”

 “This poem was literally born of fire and blood during the hottest phase of the second battle of Ypres…Just as (McCrae) describes, we often heard in the mornings the larks singing high in the air, between the crash of the shell and the reports of the guns in the battery just beside us.”

As stated by John McCrae’s close friend and former Ottawa newspaper editor, Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Edward Morrison.

Borrowing its structure from the sonnet tradition, the In Flanders Fields poem is a complex poem.

John McCrae gives us three distinct verses full of contrast and imagery offering the reader a poignant insight into McCrae’s thought processes as he conveys his message in verse. John McCrae’s use of imagery such as “poppies blow between the crosses row on row” and “the torch be yours to hold it high” has since become a part of our collective memory of war.

In Flanders Fields Lesson Plan #2

An Analysis of the Structure, Meaning and Message of John McCrae’s In Flanders Fields Poem


“We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
Flanders Fields”

Grade Level - K – 12:

  • Examine and understand McCrae’s use of contrast and imagery (K – 12)
  • Analyze and identify the rhyming scheme & structure of In Flanders Fields poem (Grade 4 – 12)
  • Develop a deeper understanding of the poem’s meaning (Grade 4 – 12)
  • Evaluate the different interpretations of the 3rd verse of In Flanders Fields poem (Grade 4 – 12)
  • Explore and interpret McCrae’s message; is this poem pro-war, anti-war or neither (Grade 4 – 12)

TIME: This lesson plan may take 2 – 3 (45 minute) classes or can be edited as required.
OBJECTIVES Students will be able to:

  • Develop a deeper understanding of the use of imagery and contrast in poetry
  • Demonstrate an awareness of poetic structure and rhyming
  • Practice using rhyme, contrast and imagery
  • Formulate and defend opinions on the meaning of In Flanders Fields poem
  • Gain a sense of how the poetry can portray mood and feelings
  • Develop an understanding of how the same poem can be have different meanings to different people

Purchase Lesson Plan #2

Students will analyze the structure of In Flanders Fields poem and through application, explore McCrae’s use of form, rhyme, imagery and contrast. This lesson will also help students to explore the poem’s meaning, introducing the varied interpretations of message of In Flanders Fields poem.

Distribute copies of the In Flanders Fields poem (Data Sheet #1A) to the class, listen to the CD and share the “Data Sheet #2” essay information with your students.
The analysis of the first two verses is designed to introduce students of all ages to literary devices used in poetry.

The analysis of the third verse is intended for exploration with students in Grade 4 and up. The interpretation of the third verse has elicited many discussions over the past 90 years. Is this poem pro-war and about revenge …or is the poem anti-war? Could it be neither?


  • Data Sheet #1A – In Flanders Fields Poem
  • Data Sheet #2 – In Flanders Fields Poem Analysis
  • IN FLANDERS FIELDS music CD, CD player
  • Black Line Master D - “Complete & Colour the Poppy” (K – 3)
  • Black Line Master E - “Write an Original Poem” (Grade 4 – 12)

To purchase the Flanders Fields Educational Kit – 6 Lesson Plans for Teachers
visit the Download Lesson Plans page


Download Lesson Plan #2!

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Please Email Flanders Fields Music for more information about:

Flanders Fields Song
Flanders Fields Video
Flanders Fields Sheet Music
Flanders Fields Educational Kit – 6 Lesson Plans for Teachers


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