Poem: A response to “In Flanders Fields”

Donald Joseph Connolly, originally from Bathurst, graduated from St. Thomas University in 1941. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in July 1940 and was awarded his wings seven months later.

He was the first man from Gloucester County to qualify in the Canadian Branch of the Empire’s Air Fighting Service, with rank of Flight Sergeant. He flew a Spitfire.

Connolly died on Sept. 28, 1941 and is buried in North Weald Bassett (St. Andrew) Churchyard in Essex, England.

This poem was originally published in The Aquinian in 1939, the paper’s fourth year of existence.


In Flanders Fields do spirits wake

To watch as we go forth to take

The torch – our pledge to those who

Fought and died – but in their dying

Taught us strength to battle with the foe,

In foreign fields where poppies blow.


We shall not fail. We take our stand

For freedom’s cause – far from this land

Where we have lived

Spent boyhood years,

Dear Canada.


In Flanders’ Fields our loved ones sleep,

The larks still sing, the poppies weep,

And spill their tears at dawn each day,

Enriching yet that fertile clay.

We know they sleep

As we go forth,

Our tryst to keep.


-Donald Joseph Connolly



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