Saturday, 26 July 2008

Temporary Truce


Over the thin pallid, pock-marked wintered landscape of the Somme,
shiver broken men with broken hearts
and broken bones and guns

Over that same pallid, misty chilly place
of death and gore and blood
of eyeless skulls and uniforms; of wire and mud
over the tops of a slimy trench
a trembling hand grips- then heaves

and unsteadily, it's owner stumbles forward
slowly forward, towards the piles of fallen leaves
(that once were both comrades and his enemies)

Over the thin pallid landscape - pock marked
snowy landscape of the Somme
a different hand and figure slowly rises
staggers on....
...on to meet the stumbling other

then in No Man's Land they meet
ah! then strangely brother greets his brother
cold hands clasp in breathless wonder
then another and another
join together....

It is Christmas on the Somme
and that long remembered (much remembered) football playing
truce is on
(On Boxing Day - the machine gun's chatter will break the cold air)
the machine guns chattered and seperate boon companions of yesterday

So remember my beloved
when we fight and rend and tear
man and wife are we - and lovers
Fall out, yes bu then repair

Sixty years have come and gone now
Christmas truce has passed away
so next time we fall out beloved
remember that poor Christmas Day

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