“Peace For Christmas” painting by Jacqueline Hurley from The War Poppy Collection 1914-1918 (2015)
This poem is based on the famous `football game`, that took place on `No man`s land`, on Christmas Day 1914, during the First World War :
Could you rise from deepened trenches, with your arms held in the air,
And walk towards those men you swore to kill,
Would you leave the thought of `us` and `them`, and the danger to
On that Christmas day, when all was calm and still ?
Would you look towards the `other side`, as `enemy`, or `friend`,
In the snowy, barren, landscape all around,
And pretend that for this one day, that the fight was at and end,
And ignore the barbed wire, laid along the ground ?
Could you look beyond the uniform, to see what lay beneath,
And to find just but a man, when stripped away,
Would you leave your sharpened bayonet still hidden in it`s sheath,
And sing carols with your fellow men that day ?
Would you play a game of football, just as these men before,
And feel peace and freedom singing in your ear,
Could you feel the whole injustice and the stupidity of war,
When the midnight would replace the calm, with fear ?
Could you shake the hand of your `new friend` and go back to your line,
To entrench yourself once more in gory mud,
And could you compensate your moments, of the `truce`, in your
With the thought that you would kill him if you could ?
Poem by Mick Westwood
( Copyright Michael Westwood 2014 ).