The Christmas Truce


 When war broke out, the British public cried,
‘We’ll be in Berlin by Christmas’,
But by Christmas thousands had died,
As Mons, the Marne, Ypres and Messines cut
Down the youth of Europe, while Flanders floods
Drowned dying, dead and alive.
Summer’s dream was swamped by winter’s mud,
Rats, lice, death and blood
In No Man’s Land; a hell hole nightmare scene
Of jagged wire, flares, shells, screams and shrapnel,
(A choreographed commonality,
That saw each side’s men attack, flail and fall
In ceaseless dance of Death’s banality),
Until Christmas Eve 1914,
When Hamburg, Berlin, London, Manchester
Said ‘No!’ to the killing fields’ mad mayhem,
Ordered by King, Flag, Map and Kaiser,
And met instead in friendship. Walking tall
And slow, comrades in war’s adversities,
They embraced in No Man’s Land and football
Harmonised nations’ animosities:
Stille Nacht. Heilige Nacht.