Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Truce 1914

On Christmas Eve we either are frantically searching for last minute gifts or secure in the knowledge that all the gifts needed to be purchased have been and better wrapped and under the tree, enjoying the tranquility of sharing a spiced egg nog with a loved one reflecting on 2014 and looking forward to 2015. One would hope in either case the gift of peace made the cut and is on your list. A 100 years ago on this day in 1914 British and German soldiers started a two day Christmas Truce on sections of the Western Front, walking out into No Man's Land to exchange gifts, fraternize and play soccer. If in the midst of carnage bitter enemies could do that and for two days enjoy the gift of peace, so can we in our daily lives. I wrote this poem in 2001 and posting it for the first time. Merry Christmas to all!
Christmas Truce 1914 

This year, we strain to hear the silver bells
Over dark waves of misfortune whipped into frenzy by the Martian winds
With wave after wave of passions seeking martyred eternal dates,
How does one find peace? 

Maybe, you search not in Macy’s, Target, Wal-Mart or Neiman Marcus
Or the nooks and crannies of each shopping mall or e-com site,
But rather a snow covered field in Flanders
Where Tommy and Fritz on one cold Christmas Eve day
Left the security of a trench
To use their fingers to shake hands,
Not to pull triggers,
To use their voices, not to bark commands,
But to sing softly….
Silent Night, Heil’ge Nacht, Alles schlaft, all is bright,
To exchange gifts instead of shells,
To play soccer instead of the losing game of war,
To score the goal of peace.

 If they could, so can we.
Maybe not for a lifetime,
But at least for more than one day
With the lifeboat filled with love, peace, and tolerance,
Rowing easily to the tranquil shore
And the soft refrain…..
Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men.


MICHAEL P. RIDLEY aka the Alaskanpoet

© December 6, 2001

No comments:

Post a Comment