~ DAY 9: The Christmas Ceasefire ~

~ A Christmas Poem ~

They said it would be over
When we all left Dover.
Crammed on one boat
Keeping each other afloat.
 
By Christmas, it’s done
The war will be fun!
Here we are now
In the midst of their row.

Beg for peace, while angels sing
They ignore, our cries still ring.
Season of goodwill, it’s a joke.
We fight and cry, in mud and smoke.
 
Four months it has been
Since we were last seen.
We left farms and docks
To come back in a box?
 
Christmas Day, a gift arrives
What is this, a new surprise?
A small box, of treats from home.
Chocolate, tobacco and shaving foam.
 
Each men receives a token
Not one word is spoken.
Our families will be alone
Others, kissing a gravestone.
 
But on this day, we will remember
On the Twenty-fifth of December.
No thoughts of war, grief or strife.
The silence here, cut with a knife.
 
Guns down. Bayonets out.
Don’t scream. Don’t shout.
Keep it calm. We know nothing.
How odd. No guns firing.
 
Climb up, peer over the wall
No not you, far too tall!
No one’s talking, not a peep
The world we know, is asleep.
 
They send me, the smallest one
To walk over and see what’s done.
Ducking under barbed wire,
This situation is really dire!

There in the distance, I can see
A figure slowly, approaching me.
Hands raised, a spike on his head,
What’s this? Will I end up dead?

More emerge, from behind him
Hands up, their faces grim.
My brothers must’ve sense my fear,
Up they come, bringing the gear.

No mans land, is our stage
For history’s latest, greatest page.
A truce we call, for this day
On No Man’s Land, now we’ll play.

A friendly game, a sport for all
Our only fight, between a football.
We tackle and laugh, a wonderful game.
I help a man up. I don’t know his name.

We share a drink, and a cigarette
Today I’m sure, I will not regret.
Not like the others, the blood I’ve shed.
Their friends and brothers, I’ve shot in the head.

We sing carols and cheer, as snow falls.
Then back to the trenches, as duty calls.
Shake hands lads, it’s been fun.
But feeling of foreboding has begun.

Tomorrow we’ll return to the fight,
Trying to forget with all our might.
About the angels blessing us with peace.
For one day, when the fire was cease.

I know one thought, as I sit alone
Listening to cries and the guttering moan.
I’ll always now, have faith in humanity
When I grow old, or lose my sanity.

Please God let me remember this day
When a game of football we did play.
Britain and Germany, side by side.
The rules of war, we did not abide.

Merry Christmas and peace to all
Not one single man, did we watch fall.
Tonight I sleep, with warmth in my heart.
Until tomorrow, when we all will part.

© By Christina Alagaratnam

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