Bishop of Hereford's Article - Hereford Times 26/04/18

    Talking Points
    26 April 2018

    Sunday 29th April will be the last day when it will be possible to see Poppies: Weeping Window at Hereford Cathedral.

    Thousands and thousands of people have been to see the cascade of several thousand ceramic poppies by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper.

    The Weeping Window was originally seen at the Tower of London as part of the “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red” installation in 2014.

    Promoted by 14-18-NOW, it commemorates all those who lost their lives in the First World War, and it does so in a way which has caught the attention, imagination and emotions of many people.

    In checking some information about the poppies, and the Weeping Window in particular, I looked on Google – and found myself discovering a lot about double glazing, indeed triple and secondary glazing as well.

    But the Weeping Window is a world apart from selling double glazing – with all due respect to those dealing with the latter.

    I have been reflecting on why Poppies: Weeping Window has had such enormous appeal. I would be interested to know what you think.

    • There is the power of memory. Anniversaries, especially major ones like a centenary, give opportunities to look back with gratitude to all those who have gone before us. In this context it is not least those from Herefordshire who made a huge contribution to the war effort during the First World War in a variety of ways, from soldiers in the Herefordshire Regiment, to those working in the munitions factory at Rotherwas, to the horses for the front.
    • There is the power of symbol. Some things really are too deep for words. We can be left speechless when we think about the horror of war and all the heroism and courage that went alongside the tragedy and grief. Poppy: Weeping Window has caught the imagination.
    • There is our appreciation of the sacrifice of others. “For our tomorrow they gave their today.” As a Christian, I want to make the link between the self-sacrifice of Jesus and all that flows from that. But for those of all faiths and none, the thoughts evoked by a display like that of the Weeping Window are profound and beyond words. For me, the fact that the Weeping Window has been at the Cathedral has added an extra layer of meaning to it. Like the Cathedral itself, Poppies: Weeping Window speaks of eternal truths.

    +Richard Frith – Bishop of Hereford.