Monday, December 22, 2014

The Christmas Truce of 1914

Sub zero in the trenches of Armentieres
Amidst the ravaging spectacle of war
It’s the most unheard of events in years
A certain killer comes to the fore

Putting aside the stench of the death tax
Then came much aerial bombardment
Cacophony of despair and poison gas attacks
Mustard gas sprayed with much resent

No ghetto blast in the dressing ring
No frenzied skipper in full swing
No chest thumping, head butting
No wooden doors unhinging

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

Crossing no man’s land in hope and glory
‘Deutschland Uber Alles’ clanks like chains
‘We come in peace’; singing ‘Tipperary’
A change of wind blows across death’s plains

Will there be a melee, a scrum or a brawl?
Bully beef swap for smokes as amity flows
Thus a Scot brings out a football
Braveheart wee willy Wallace’s face glows

Helmets for goals, no offside on dry ice
Chasing a sphere of peace, a free for all
‘Watch that gunge and detonating device!’
Marauding hunting packs chase that ball

No longer a faceless enemy clan
Mud football is today’s game plan
King George’s soldier hugs the Kaiser’s man
Each foe part of a peace plan

Hearty 3-2 win as Fritz beats Tommy
That so loathed, became for an instant, loved
Not a shot fired in this festive party
London & Bonn for a moment beloved

So sworn enemies unite merrily
Football the great healer shares it free
Hate, replaced so lovingly
Real men, they were truly gutsy

The dawn of Boxing day and Cap’n Stockwell’s three shots signal the end of the truce.

Goodwill to all men.

© Emdad Rahman

An Austrian at Ypres called Adolf complains at such bizarre integration


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