Let’s start with the facts, this is the moat of the Tower of London, gradually filled with 888,246 ceramic poppies each representing one British military fatality during the First World War.
The Poppies were designed by Paul Cummins, with setting by stage designer Tom Piper, and over the last few months the moat has gradually filled with a sea of red. In time the poppies will be sold, with 6 charities benefitting, but what is it like to visit? What does it look like, and more importantly how does it make you feel?
If I was to use just one word, overwhelming. Above a certain figure, numbers become mere digits until you see them in physical form, and when you compute all those little flowers as the loss of a generation it stops you in your tracks.
Given the crowds there on Sunday evening, the quiet was palpable as the sun set and the Yeoman Warders accompanied an orator into the middle of it all. Each day he reads out 180 names of the fallen, before a bugler plays the last post. In the end its the accumulation of small actions that makes this art installation as powerful as it is. The bugler finished his lament and I walked soberly back to the coach. There was much to consider.