The Christmas Truce

1914, the troops knew the new war.
Kept their heads below the sandbags,
Knelt for days in flooding zigzags
Of death;
Sometimes the rats would aid

Out there, the enemy huddles
Likewise, and each mission
Is to blast the faceless villains
With good aim, but not good vision.

Frost laced barricades
Across the way
Shed flickering fire light
At the dusk of night.

Wary eyes
Spied curiously
As silence broke
The constant hiss
And left space
For the settling smoke.

“It’s candles,” they realized,
Along barbed wire rimmed
Edges. The flames made their way
Up into a spruce or two,
And no one spoke

Until a German shouts
“Merry Christmas,”
And on the other side,
A card is opened
By a Britain, choking back
Some breaking pride.

“Merry Christmas,” he connects,
Outlets a slow chorus of accents,
Trickling through the cracks
Between iron sheets.

The phrase
Flows muddled with the pain
And remembrance in that sweet refrain
Of warmer winter days.

“Auld Lang Sine”
They sang,
Perhaps when Christmas closed.
It’s been “old, long since”
That unspoken truce.

They sang,
Some to forget,
Some for a “cup of kindness yet”,
But this is to remember
How they came to meet in No Man’s Land
And share their bread
That dark December.

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Charlene Nelson

Charlene Nelson

Welcome to the poetry blog of Charlene Nelson. I view poetry primarily as an expression and means of seeing and savouring Jesus Christ, while inviting others to join me. Some readers may even want to join by writing and submitting their own poetry- and I hope they will! I also intend to use this as a place to share hymns and poetry of times past.