Christmas Eve 1914
by
Mike Harding

 

Christmas Eve, 1914, stars were burning, burning bright
And all along the Western Front the guns were lying still and quiet.
And men lay dozing in the trenches, in the cold and in the dark,
And far away behind the lines, a village dog began to bark.

Some lay thinking of their families, some sang songs and others were quiet
Rolling fags and playing Brag, to pass away that Christmas night.
But as they watched the German trenches, something moved in no-man's land
And from far away there came a soldier, carrying a white flag in his hand.

Then from both sides, the men came running, crossing into no-man's land
Through the barbed wire, mud and shell-holes; shyly stood there shaking hands
Fritz brought out cigars and brandy, Tommy brought corned beef and fags
Stood there laughing, crying, singing, as the moon shone down on no-man's land

On Christmas day we all played football, in the mud of no-man's land
Tommy brought a Christmas pudding, Fritz brought out a German band
And when they beat us at the football, web shared out all the grub and drink
And Fritz showed me a faded photo of a dark-haired girl back in Berlin

For four days after, no one fired. Not one shell disturbed the night
For old Fritz and Tommy Atkins, they'd both lost the will to fight.
So they withdrew us from the trenches, sent us far behind the lines,
Sent fresh troops to take our places- ordered guns; "Prepare to fire".

And next night, in 1914, flares were burning, burning bright.
The message came, "Prepare offensive, over the top we're going tonight!"
And men stood waiting in the trenches, in the cold and in the dark,
All along the Western Front the Christmas guns began to bark.

 

From his book "Bomber's Moon" .published by Michael Joseph. You will find more information about this book and other work by Mike Harding if you take the following link: http://www.mikeharding.co.uk

Copyright Mike Harding. All rights reserved. No part of this text may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of author/publisher.