Thursday, January 10, 2008

Poetry Thursday- The Christmas Truce

On Christmas Eve 1914, in the middle of WWI, in numerous places along the trenches, an unusual thing happened. Men stopped fighting. They sang, held broken conversations in various languages, played soccer, had Mass together... it must have been incredible. There is a movie, by name Joyeux Noel, which tells the story of one of the truces, and here you can see a six minute video on this topic, which you really should watch.

Alright, that was not a completely random tangent, although it may have sounded like one, for Chesterton wrote a poem about the truce, and so the above badly-written paragraph was my weak attempt to give you some background.

The Truce of Christmas
By G.K. Chesterton

Passionate peace is in the sky —
And in the snow in silver sealed
The beasts are perfect in the field,
And men seem men so suddenly —
(But take ten swords and ten times ten
And blow the bugle in praising men;
For we are for all men under the sun;
And they are against us every one;
And misers haggle and madmen clutch,
And there is peril in praising much,
And we have the terrible tongues uncurled
That praise the world to the sons of the world.)
The idle humble hill and wood
Are bowed upon the sacred birth,
And for one little hour the earth
Is lazy with the love of good—
(But ready are you, and ready am I,
If the battle blow and the guns go by;
For we are for all men under the sun,
And they are against us every one;
And the men that hate herd all together,
To pride and gold, and the great white feather,
And the thing is graven in star and stone
That the men who love are all alone.)

Hunger is hard and time is tough,
But bless the beggars and kiss the kings;
For hope has broken the heart of things,
And nothing was ever praised enough.
(But hold the shield for a sudden swing
And point the sword when you praise a thing,
For we are for all men under the sun,
And they are against us every one;
And mime and merchant, thane and thrall
Hate us because we love them all;
Only till Christmastide go by
Passionate peace is in the sky.)

2 comments:

Love2Learn Mom said...

Great post!

By the way, I just wanted to mention that Joyeux Noel is not recommended in its entirety for family viewing, though the six minute clip is. :)

Mapaz said...

That's funny, our English teacher told us about the film just yesterday. Thanks for the poem, there are so many things I still have to read !