June is the Month of the poppy here in Ireland and I just love this little flower, its mainly known for growing along the sides of roads or rail lines. This is mainly because the earth on this land has been turned over and the seeds of the poppies have been moved back to a depth that they can grow again.
It’s not that common here unlike France or main land Europe to see full fields of poppies, one location I have found were this is true is around the remains of the old house at Duckets grove, County Carlow.
These images were taken one evening in June, the light was fading and a tripod was needed with the camera but I think the low light has resulted in some strong reds and deep greens for these images. they have been enhanced this a little in photoshop but I did need to do to much work.
June I cannot want for you and your poppy fields!
The Red Poppy
The great thing is not having a mind.
Feelings: oh, I have those; they govern me.
I have a lord in heaven called the sun, and open for him,
showing him the fire of my own heart,
fire like his presence.
What could such glory be if not a heart?
Oh my brothers and sisters,
were you like me once, long ago,
before you were human?
Did you permit yourselves to open once,
who would never open again?
Because in truth I am speaking now the way you do.
I speak because I am shattered.
by Louise Glück
The flower’s connection with death has been known for countless centuries. The twin Greek deities Hypnos and Thanatos, were illustrated wearing crowns of poppies and the flowers were considered suitable offerings for the dead in both ancient Greece and Rome.
In other parts of the world, poppies have happier associations, In China, it is believed to be lucky to smell the scent of the flower three times a day and in Turkey, they symbolise the promise of health and peace.
Magical properties have also been attributed to the flower. In ‘A Mid Summer’s Night Dream’, Shakespeare writes ” The juice of it on sleeping eyelids laid will make a man or woman madly dote upon the next live creature that it sees”. Peering into the black centre was a traditional folk remedy for insomnia.
Whilst opium is derived from only one of the hundreds of different varieties of poppy, many poppies have sedative effects on those who consume them and poppies are sometimes inscribed on gravestones to symbolise eternal rest. In the popular film, The Wizard of Oz, a poppy field was depicted as dangerous as it caused all those who passed through it to fall asleep forever. Such are the properties of this plant that foods rich in culinary poppy seeds can even result in the failing of an opiate drug test and the sale of poppy seeds is banned in several countries.