The Truce traduced

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 100 year anniversary of the famous Truce match, 1914

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 The whistlers, the peepers
the keepers of time and regulation
are rarely saluted.
As far as we know, the Truce match of 1914
had no referee
just trenches and barbed wire for sidelines
tunics for goalposts
and freedom in the hearts of the troupers
as they played the Beautiful Game
in the hell hole of a fortified field

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 Exhaustion and the bitter cold
brought the game to a natural end
the Germans credited with victory –
where the real triumph
was the spontaneity and comradery engendered
amongst the allies and foes

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 The Truce itself was officially closed
with a whistle from the lips
of Captain Arthur O’Sullivan, Royal Irish Fusiliers –
he didn’t survive much longer, a German sniper too accurate
a bilious bullet ripping through his overcoat
his oozing blood, mixing with the mud
and coagulated plasma of far too many others.
They talk of a band of brothers
but it was in truth
a kinship of lost souls
that mattered more
than any goals
attained in the armistice

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 Four months later the Germans unleashed
poison gas upon that venerated patch
producing a pestilential pitch that purloined more bodies
than had been players, in No Man’s Land –
a toxic interlude, in the annals of time
a noxious episode in our mad history –
let us pray, that going forward we judiciously learn
from the mystery
of peace



At this time of year, all football minded fans think of that famous game, the Truce of 1914.
I’ve written about it a few times.

Last year being the 100 year anniversary, I was always going to comment again.

This angle was initiated from reading an opinion column in the Sunday Times (Irish edition), by the erudite Kevin Myers, commemorating the 100 year anniversary – yes, I wrote this last year and only found it today!

In his article, Kevin Myers stated that Captain Arthur O’Sullivan, of the Royal Irish Fusiliers, was killed in action a few weeks later.

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/the-truce-traduced/