Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Whatever Next?

When War broke out, the British public cried

“We’ll be in Berlin by Christmas.” But

By Christmas hundreds of thousands had died,
As Mons, The Marne, Ypres and Messines cut

Down the youth of Europe, while Flanders’ flood

Drowned dying, dead and alive. Summer’s dream

Was swamped by winter’s mud, rats, death and blood

In No Man’s Land; a hell hole night mare scene

Of barbed wire, flares, shells, screams and shrapnel
(A choreographed commonality

That saw each side’s men attack, flail and fall

In ceaseless dance of death’s banality)
Until, at Christmas, nineteen fourteen, when

Hamburg, Berlin, London and Manchester

Said “No!” to the killing fields’ mad mayhem

Ordered by Kaiser, Flag, Map and Officer,
And met instead in friendship, walking tall

And slow, comrades in war’s adversities,
They embraced in No Man’s Land and Football

Harmonised nations’ animosities;
And what if the playing of the Peoples’ Game

Had continued beyond that Christmas time?
What on earth would have happened next?
Well, I suggest to you that none of the following

Would have occurred –

The Battle of the Somme; Verdun;
The Bolshevik Revolution; The Russian Civil War; Stalin; Hitler; Fascism; World War Two; nuclear weapons; the Cold War; Remembrance Day;
Think about it.
And play the Peoples’ Game this Christmas.

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