Wednesday, December 20, 2006

War poems.

While thinking of war, a poem by Wilfred Owen always comes to my mind . The one titled "The Strange Meeting". 

The poem ends with the following lines :

'I am the enemy you killed, my friend.
I knew you in this dark: for so you frowned
Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.
I parried; but my hands were loath and cold.
Let us sleep now....'

Also comes to mind the story of the Christmas Truce, a brief, rare event that took place in between Germans and the English during WW I . During Christmas, a brief cease-fire was ordered. During this time, soldiers from both sides got out of the trenches, into the No-man's land and celebrated Christmas together, shared cigarettes, showed each other their photographs, sang together. In fact a letter from a young English soldier to his family reads -

'.. the most amazing Christmas I ever had. Just before dinner I had the pleasure of shaking hands with several Germans: a party of them came half way over to us; so several of us went out to them. I exchanged one of my balaclavas for a hat. I've also got a button off one of their tunics. We also exchanged smokes etc. and had a decent chat. They say they won't fire tomorrow if we don't so I suppose we shall get a bit of a holiday - perhaps. After exchanging autographs and them wishing us a Happy New Year we departed and came back and had our dinner.

We can hardly believe that we've been firing at them for the last week or two - it all seems so strange. At present its freezing hard and everything is covered with ice...

There are plenty of huge shell holes in front of our trenches, also pieces of shrapnel to be found. I never expected to shake hands with Germans between the firing lines on Christmas Day and I don't suppose you thought of us doing so"

These hard-hitting lines bring forward the wretchedness of war.

No comments: