One Hundred Years Ago

Someone purged
Another’s life,
Brought him down,
And so his wife.
And blood would flow
From that heartless blow
And spread,
One hundred years ago.

The mood was dark,
The mood was skittish
On the Western Front
With the French and British,
Where Germans came
With hands full-clenched,
One hundred years ago.

But boys are boys
And men are men,
None would falter
To defend
The things held dear
Through sweat and tears
Like Liberty and Life.

So off they went
To win the war
A million bullets
Soon would soar
In harm’s way
Or go astray
One hundred years ago.

Darkness hovered
O’er the land,
Where open graves laid
Wait for man.
The moon exposed
The tragedies
From greed and hatred’s
Strategies.

Some were feigning
They were dead,
Some were groveling
Instead.
Some were crying
In despair--
“Is war our only hope and prayer?”
One hundred years ago.

Nineteen fourteen
In December
Is the truce
We all remember.
When beyond one’s
Loyal stance,
They all agreed
To not advance
One hundred years ago.

A time to weep,
A time for laughter,
A time to think
Of the hereafter.
‘Twas Christmas eve
And their emotions
Were riding high
Across the ocean.

Someone said
“Let’s celebrate!”
Others warned
“It’ll be our fate
If friendships
We would dare create,”
One hundred years ago.

Some even thought
It was a trick—
What a clever
Time to pick
A maneuver of deceit—
At Christmas.

Across the trenches
Flames were fanned
By winds that spread
Through ‘no man’s land.’
Where ev’ry candle light
Would glow
And melt the hatred
In one’s soul.

And hearts would
Hearken once again
To songs of ‘Peace,
Good will to men.’
Each side singing
Joyful songs,
Exchanging gifts
for hate was wrong.
Sharing pictures,
Family prose,
A sweet perfume
During wartime woes.

They even shared
In breaking bread,
And helped each
Other bury their dead.
But best of all they
Lowered their guns
To play some friendly games.
One hundred years ago!

What were the lessons
That they learned
On that day so long?
I'm sure I understand--
'That life's more precious than pure gold,'
And we’d do well to build on that goal.

They even proved
That together
We can live in
Harmony.
If only we would
Work on that
Instead of armory.

The Spirit of Christmas
Was there that day,
In the hearts of men
When they went ‘astray.’
And they beat the game
Of Hate and Deceit.
And played their drums
To a different beat.


--Shirley Seal--