On 14/11/2012 04:00, Paul Roser wrote:
> I stand corrected - did a google search and found this:
> <ttp://>
> Concise Oxford English Dictionary © 2008 Oxford
> University Press: blow3 archaic or literary ▶verb (past
> blew; past part. blown) produce flowers or be in flower.
> ▶noun the state or period of flowering. – origin OE
> blōwan, of Gmc origin; rel. to bloom1 and blossom.
> Note, however, that this verb is listed distinct from the
> other two homophonous lexical items, one primarily to do
> with air movement or explosions (– origin OE blāwan, of
> Gmc origin.), the other with physical contact.

That's because they are of different origins and certainly
the "to bloom"  and "to produce a current of air" were once
different verbs that became homophones due to phonetic
change.  The origin to the "stroke or knock" meaning is more

I'm surprised that And is apparently unaware of "to blow"
with the meaning of "to bloom" or "to blossom" as it is well
enough attested in English literature.  It is normally an
intransitive verb, though Milton did use it transitively
with the meaning "to put forth (blossoms, blooms etc).
Also, as Charlie points out, the verb still survives in the
not uncommon phrase "full blown."  It is derived from Old
English _blōwan_ and is cognate with German _blühen_.

The more familiar verb, meaning "to produce a current of
air" etc. is derived from Old English _blāwan_ and is
cognate with German _blähen, blasen_ and Latin _flāre_.

The image of poppies in Flanders fields, or anywhere else
for that matter, producing streams of air seems rather odd
to me, and I know of no uses of "to blow" with a passive
meaning, i.e. "are being blown."

The origin of the noun "blow" = "stroke, knock, sudden
misfortune" is more obscure.  It is not attested before the
15th century; some consider it to be derived from the second
verb above, others look for a connexion with German _blauen_
"to beat."

On 13/11/2012 23:38, Adam Walker wrote:
> .....................  This has never been one of my
> favorite poems, though it was a memorization piece in
> the curriculum I used to teach from.

The first two stanzas are OK and evocative, but the third
stanza is not one I like.  It resonates of the stupid
recruiting rhetoric of the early years of WWI.

I had a long rant following the last sentence, but as it so
clearly went into "no crown" territory, I have deleted it.
But, yes, I'm with Adam at not finding this one of my
favorite poems.

Nid rhy hen neb i ddysgu.
There's none too old to learn.