Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The great Christmas truce of 1914

Sub zero in the trenches of Armentieres
It’s the bizarre event of the year
Amidst the ravaging spectacle of war
Looms a most certain killer

Through football the great healer
Death stench of the “Great War”
Foes come together to scent
Those darkened days of yore

A cacophony of despair
Before the aerial bombardment
Poisoned gas attacks
Sprayed with so much resentment

No guns and roses in the dressing room
No Terry Butcher in full swing
No chest thumping or headbutting
No vicious door smashing

Only warm carols, silent, soft in tone
In union with the English enemy
Lone German voices mixed in with death’s moan
Beyond the darkened stymie

Echoing across no man’s land
‘Tipperary’ haunts death’s plains
‘Deutschland Uber Alles’ resonates
Like deathly clanking chains

‘We come in peace,’ say the English
Straying onto German territory
Crossing no man’s land
Unarmed in hope and glory

Bully beef swapped for smokes
Wee willy Wallace's face glows
Braveheart starts the game
Barrel loads of friendship flows

Becoming for an instant, loved
When the Scot brings on a football
Will there now be a massive melee
A scrum, or even a brawl?

Helmets for goalposts, no offside
Free for all on very dry ice
Foraging through the gunge
'Oi, watch that detonating device!'

Chasing this instrument of peace
Marauding hunting pack
Free for all like crazed hounds
Dogs of war on the attack

Origins of mud football are sown
Both teams descend the autobahn
Whilst King George’s officer
Embraces the Kaiser’s man

Merry Christmas and a hearty 3-2
Fritz ends up defeating Tommy
With not a shot fired, there follows
A massive celebratory party

Festivities of deference
With those who were so loathed
United London & Bonn
Becoming for a moment betrothed

For once, not an ounce of hate
Replaced by loving authority
Commonality, smiles, brotherhood
And most of all instant sorority

On the dawn of Boxing day
Three shots break the Zen
Cap’n Stockwell ends the Christmas truce
Goodwill to all men

Such fraternity and such joy
Faces much condemnation
Austrian at Ypres called Adolf
Rebukes this uncanny integration

Number 7
© Emdad Rahman

This is an extraordinary & true story and therein lies a lesson for us all - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p05E_ohaQGk

No comments: