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Bydand

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 A hundred years ago,
at ten o’clock, or so,
a German waved his arms,
walked into ‘no man’s land.’
The English held their fire
(‘twould draw the Generals’ ire).
I guess you’d have to have been
there to understand.

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 For a few peaceful hours,
they disobeyed the Powers,
these young, brave fighting men,
collecting fallen friends,
standing with enemies
a moment, while at ease,
recalling that upon which
everything depends.

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 They put down bayonets.
Some smoked their cigarettes;
took time to stretch their legs
from weeks of hiding.
They posed for photographs,
played pipes, shared nervous laughs,
improved their dugouts free from fire
with all abiding,

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 then played a football match
What joy’d have been to watch,
above the trenches,
between the lines,
and in the midst of war,
I’ll bet they kept no score.
Only a rematch one day
every man’s designs.

12

Notes

According to the website of the Gordon Highlanders 1914-1918, “Bydand” is the motto of the Gordon Highlanders (Scots – “biding or abiding, in the sense of enduring, lasting or biding the time”) and, from this same source, the Highlanders had bayonets. The online version of the Independent December 24, 2014 reports on a letter from Captain A. D. Chater of the 2d Battalion Gordon Highlanders to his mother with his observations of the Christmas Truce on the Western Front. This submission is inspired by that report of that letter. Although Canada had yet to join the Great War by the time of the Christmas Truce, Canada’s Peace Tower’s carillon bells will mark the occasion today. Dedicated to the Gordon Highlanders and all those who have sacrificed in war. Bydand. Abiding Peace.

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/bydand/