One Christmas In The Trenches (revisited)

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 one Christmas in the trenches
they stood in mud and sand
their loved ones and their football
a distant far off land –
the snow lay thick as thick could be
a bitter chill did spread
behind the sand bags and the wire
they stood among the dead

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 their sweethearts faces locked inside
their tins and bits of things
along with resignation
of all that fighting brings
on backs of Woodbine packets
around some cold tinned stew
like texts and up-dates of their day
the scores would still get through

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 December Nineteen Fourteen
upon that Christmas morn
when to a man an act un-planned
and instant truce was born –
behind the barbed wire barricades
all scorched and bleak and bare
a distant sound grew all around
a song hung on the air

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 that Christmas in the trenches
a hope blew on the wind
a carol in another tongue
from far off did begin –
we’ll never know who made the call
to move in such a way
but something somehow lifted them
upon that Christmas Day

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 forbidden breach of orders
we call it what we will
but hearts were stirred and greetings heard
the air grew calm and still –
from burrows then on either side
they met in no-man’s land
as enemy met enemy
with gifts and outstrethed hands

6 Leave a comment on verse 6 0 a football thrown between the guns
from nowhere did appear
and in that silence voices rang
and echoed loud and clear –
we’ll never ever know the scores
or just how many games
when Tommy Atkins challenged Fritz
upon that Christmas Day –

7 Leave a comment on verse 7 0 how can we dare to comment
what use these simple lines
if none of us can dream or feel
the horror of those times
as for a moment time stood still
when arms were left aside
the bayonet the rifle
the cannon hate and pride –

8 Leave a comment on verse 8 0 but one result is certain
as game and friendship ceased
the sudden opportunity
for peace was never seized –
and still we wonder how a man
can laugh and play with men
to then return like sheep to fold
to kill and kill again

9 Leave a comment on verse 9 0 one Christmas in that first Great War
of stench and blood and grime
their football brought them closer
for one brief day in time
and though commanders drove them back
their orders to obey
between the lines a match was played
upon that Christmas Day

10 Leave a comment on verse 10 0 ——————————————————————————–

11 Leave a comment on verse 11 0 © CT05



There is a wonderfully obscure unusual ‘foreign’ gem of a film out now to rent on DVD entitled Joyeux Noel ..try and catch it. It captures ( albeit with a love story thrown in?) the moment of The Christmas Truce of 1914. Stuart Butler’s poem Football In Trenches, Michael Foreman’s wonderful book and film ‘War Game’ and further research, all inspired me to write this poem back in December of 2005. Again on hearing Stu perform his own moving poem with such passion at The Off The Shelf Festival in Sheffield in October evoked so much. It drummed home and underlined, just how different the situation in Iraq is today. In these oh so politically correct times, to me there will always be a need each December to remember a rare spontaneous moment in time like this. Crispin

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/one-christmas-in-the-trenches-revisited/