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The First World War football truce

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 Paul McCartney once
Immortalised the
Conciliatory shake
Of hands when
Football reached
The First World War
Truce, a sigh of rapprochement
Amid the shrieking shells
And bombs, the crashing,
Smashing, exploding
Pandemonium of it all
Screaming with fury
While the Germans
And the English slowly
Wearily moved
Towards each other
In Pipes of Peace
Paul McCartney
Smiled and reached
Out the hand of
Pacifism,
Then another shuddering
Jolt to the system
Before the mud caked
Medicine ball could
Be dropped into the
Muddy maelstrom
Thick, cloying acres
Of anonymity
The soldiers must have
Thought they’d never
Kick off and just vanish
Into a misty land of
Death, pain, finality
But then it all came to
Life, vibrantly so
The football match
Of them all, the one
That signified the dignity
Of Peace or a suggestion
Of being here and now
And so it came to be
That hundreds of men
Thick trench coated
Rifles and then boots
On feet clung onto life
They meet on common
Ground, united by
Football, kick off
Half time quite possibly
But no semblance of corners
Or free kicks simply
The camaraderie of
War torn men, hellish scars
Of conflict, stumbling towards
The potentiality of friendship
Reconciled for a while, love
Letters from sweethearts
From a Beatle’s coat pocket
Then the match proceeds
With the white flag of spontaneity
Ball lands in perhaps neutral soil
Men gleefully kick the ball
In no particular
Direction, soiled from head
To foot but moving and then
Leaving their markers before
Turning on a sixpence
Quite literally
Shooting from another bunker
But this time on good, amicable
Terms, Hearts together playing
For fun,
But on Christmas Day
There were no dodgy
Debatable penalties
But the Germans and
English playing in historic
Colours, no sparks of bitterness
Or rage, just happy go lucky
Moods. Glad to be seen
On fields of
Mutual appreciation,
Stop the fighting, feuding,
The killing grounds
Where finally they
Saw reason and hope
An orange sun, no time
To waste, let’s play
The Beautiful Game
Because the world is
And always be so
Now let’s see
The English can
Attack with
Two sweepers to mop
Up at the back
Sweepers but not
Mine sweepers
They’ll do even
More damage
So let the great
Christmas Day
Match proceed
Without intervention
From fussy, bossy
Referees
We know exactly
How to play
In the warm
Embrace of
Sportsmanship
Let the game
Begin

11

Notes

Here’s my First World War truce poem.

Source: https://footballpoets.org/poems/the-first-world-war-football-true/