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Truce, Christmas Day 1914

For years I've heard this story,
Believe it or not as you may,
But I mean to tell what I saw
On that fabled Christmas Day.
They said there was a truce
A seasonal cessation of fire,
Fraternisation between the ranks
Footie games between the wire:
Not on my stretch of trench.
Just an odd outburst of truce,
Nothing widespread and general,
Just informal, local and loose.
Truth is it happened at times,
A sort of breathing space
A time to repair and mend,
Put defences back in place,

But it was frowned on by the Brass
Afraid peace might break out
Afraid fraternisation might put
Our spirits and loyalty in doubt.
Some times we bantered with Fritz
Even shouted across the odd jokes
But the Generals didn't want any
Contact between the ordinary blokes.
When you see your enemy is human
That he too eats and farts and shits
You might question why you're both
Trying to blow each other to bits.
So it  became a crime
Another excuse they could make
To hammer home discipline by
Threat of the firind squad stake.

Some may have joined in carols
Bantered between the barbed wire
But, believe me or not there wasn't
Any general seasonal cease fire.
It's gone down in myth and legend
To try and humanise that brutal war
The powers that be so afraid
We might not follow them any more.
So, many many years later,
Long after that conflict's end
I grieve still for the loss of
Many a good and loyal friend
So now before I die
I mean to have my say
Tell it as I saw it about that
Much fabled Truce Christmas Day.

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