IrelandGenWeb-L ArchivesArchiver > IrelandGenWeb > 2006-12 > 1166496671
From: "Jean R." <>
Subject: [IGW] "Truce" - Paul MULDOON,born 1951 Co. Armagh - Based on 1914 WW-I Incident.
Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2006 18:51:11 -0800
It begins with one or two soldiers
And one or two following
With hampers over their shoulders.
They might be off wildfowling
As they would another Christmas Day,
So gingerly they pick their steps.
No one seems sure of what to do.
All stop when one stops.
A fire gets lit. Some spread
Their greatcoats on the frozen ground.
Polish vodka, fruit and bread
Are broken out and passed round.
The air of an old German song,
The rules of Patience, are the secrets
They'll share before long.
They draw on their last cigarettes
As Friday-night lovers, when it's over,
Might get up from their mattresses
To congratulate each other
And exchange names and addresses.
-- Paul Muldoon. The Christmas Truce of 1914 is one of the most remarkable incidents of WW-I and perhaps of all military history, with enemies laying down their arms for some hours, singing Christmas songs, sharing food, and binding up each other's wounds. It began in some places on Christmas Eve and other on Christmas Day, the truce covered as much as two-thirds of the British-German front, with thousands of soldiers taking part. Perhaps most remarkably, it grew out of no single initiative but sprang up in each place spontaneously and independently. Many first-hand accounts have been transcribed to the Internet.