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The Reverse of the Coin

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 On Christmas Day, the tension ceased,
Brown faces into cackles creased,
And trenches deep disgorged their band
Of soldiers into no-man’s land.
And as they through the dank mist peered,
Brown faces with broad smiles appeared,
And clambered out to meet their foe,
With metaphorical mistletoe.
And cigarettes were handed round,
With photographs, dry, crunched and browned,
And when a football was produced,
The enmity again reduced,
And laughter, talent and fair play
Became the order of the day,
As human jetsam, urged to kill,
United in the common thrill
Of boot and leather, crosses, passes,
Loved by all the working classes.

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 Nigh on ninety years have passed
Since all those men were shot or gassed,
And I sit in my easy chair
Too far removed to really share
In those emotions that prevailed
When men against the system railed.
It seems an instinct born of good.
Humanity crawled out of mud
And shook his killer by the hand –
Thus far can I understand.

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 But I, so hypocritically racked,
Can’t comprehend the simple fact,
That on the next morn, war resumed
For men once more with death consumed.

Notes

Our feelings of humanity are warmed by the fact that the men ceased hostilities on Christmas Day to play football with the enemy.
However, they recommenced hostilities on Stephens’ Day.

Source: https://footballpoets.org/poems/the-reverse-of-the-coin/