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Poppies are poppin!

What associations do you have when you see a poppy? I think of Dorothy and the poppy fields before the city of Oz, but I also think of Lin Zexu, a scholar of the Qing Dynasty, who wrote an open letter to Queen Victoria in 1839. That letter sparked the first Opium War. Lin asked HRH to end the illegal opium trade, saying that China was providing Britain with valuable commodities such as tea, porcelain, spices and silk, and that Britain was sending only "poison" in return.

He wrote: “I am told that in your own country opium smoking is forbidden under severe penalties. This means that you are aware of how harmful it is. . . . So long as you do not take it yourselves, but continue to make it and tempt the people of China to buy it, you will be showing yourselves careful of your own lives, but careless of the lives of other people, indifferent in your greed for gain to the harm you do to others; such conduct is repugnant to human feeling and at variance with the Way of Heaven. . .”

I still think questioning Queen V on her moral high ground was the best power move I’ve ever heard!! So I love these flowers for that association of asserting what is right! 💌💪🏼 You can choose to see just a pretty flower, but the poppy is also connected to a powerful global narrative. (Note: I’m using an Icelandic Poppy to tell the story, instead of the opium poppy. I don’t have any photos of those in my stash! Thanks to @flowersbycarra for these beauties.)

Liz PearComment