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December 25th, 1914 - PC Maho [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
PC Maho

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December 25th, 1914 [Dec. 29th, 2008|11:39 pm]
PC Maho
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[mood |relaxedrelaxed]

no man's land
trenches
1914

this is war
as it was known then
two sides
ankles entrenched in mud
two countries
England and Germany
declared by their generals
two enemies
two riffles
held by men my age
gun shots
echoing off the pines


December 24th: Christmas Eve
the Germans are singing
the Germans are singing
and their songs are rising over no man's land
the English recognizing the tune
join in
"silent night, holly night..."
their voices
gathering over this
holy cemetery
as if to tell
the heavens
to open up
and dry the mud at their feet

the English
could see candles
swaying in the distance
no one fired their guns

December 25th: Christmas
it was the kind of morning
that could end a war

silence

then foot steps
English guns cocked and ready to fire
a young German soldier emerges from the fog
carrying a small pine tree
with candles hanging from the limbs
the German Christmas tree

then two feet
struggle out of the trench
two hands meet
two pairs of eyes
see for the first time
the enemy

others join
from both sides
looking out on
no man's land
they see for the first time
the corpses
lain indiscriminately
casualties
of their war

so first
they bury the dead
together

then talk
share stories
two men
one from England one from Germany
find their families own shops next door to each other
they trade souvenirs
a button on a German's coat
for some English cigarettes
there's a soccer game
in no man's land
the German's referee
and not surprisingly win
there is laughter
there is singing
these are not the sounds of war

these men
recognize them selves
almost immediately
in the faces of their enemy

that night the soldiers said their goodbyes
crawled back to their trenches

and they refused to fight for weeks

until generals on both sides
ordered any who refused to fight
or who patronized with the enemy
shot on sight

and the Christmas Truce of 1914 ended with more blood
and a World War that lasted an eternity

if we are to be against war
we must be for peace
we must not march like soldiers
we must play like friends
we must not yell like generals
we must whisper like siblings

because for one day and one night
in 1914 we were shown
how to not just end one war in truce, victory, or defeat
but to end all war
how to look our enemies in the eyes
in the eyes
to know
we are but two sides
standing
in no man's land
an arms reach
from peace
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