Poppies: drugs, death and sleepiness

cowper_la_belle_dame

This knight seems to have run into problems due to his unfamiliarity with the symbolism of poppies. Don’t let the same thing happen to you!

Drugs:

‘I ran into pagodas, and was fixed for centuries at the summit or in secret rooms: I was the idol; I was the priest; I was worshipped; I was sacrificed …  I was buried for a thousand years in stone coffins, with mummies and sphynxes, in narrow chambers at the heart of eternal pyramids.  I was kissed, with cancerous kisses, by crocodiles; and laid, confounded with all unutterable slimy things, amongst reeds and Nilotic mud.’

Confessions of an English Opium Eater, Thomas de Quincey

Death:

‘In Flanders Fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses row on row …’

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

Sleepiness:

‘Soon, trembling in her soft and chilly nest,

In sort of wakeful swoon, perplex’d she lay,

Until the poppied warmth of sleep oppress’d

Her soothed limbs, and soul fatigued away;

Flown, like a thought, until the morrow-day;

Blissfully haven’d both from joy and pain …’

The Eve of St Agnes, Keats

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