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Thread: Poems

  1. #1

    Poems

    You may call me a sentimentalist, and you'd be right and I make no apologies. I found these two poems years ago, and often read them at this time of year, especially when there are lads abroad. The last stanza of the second is particularly poignant for me, considering how this country has come to treat our armed forces

    TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, HE LIVED ALL ALONE,
    IN A ONE BEDROOM HOUSE MADE OF PLASTER AND STONE.

    I HAD COME DOWN THE CHIMNEY WITH PRESENTS TO GIVE,
    AND TO SEE JUST WHO IN THIS HOME DID LIVE.

    I LOOKED ALL ABOUT, A STRANGE SIGHT I DID SEE,
    NO TINSEL, NO PRESENTS, NOT EVEN A TREE.

    NO STOCKING BY MANTLE, JUST BOOTS FILLED WITH SAND,
    ON THE WALL HUNG PICTURES OF FAR DISTANT LANDS.

    WITH MEDALS AND BADGES, AWARDS OF ALL KINDS,
    A SOBER THOUGHT CAME THROUGH MY MIND.

    FOR THIS HOUSE WAS DIFFERENT, IT WAS DARK AND DREARY,
    I FOUND THE HOME OF A SOLDIER, ONCE I COULD SEE CLEARLY.

    THE SOLDIER LAY SLEEPING, SILENT, ALONE,
    CURLED UP ON THE FLOOR IN THIS ONE BEDROOM HOME.

    THE FACE WAS SO GENTLE, THE ROOM IN SUCH DISORDER,
    NOT HOW I PICTURED A UNITED STATES SOLDIER.

    WAS THIS THE HERO OF WHOM I'D JUST READ?
    CURLED UP ON A PONCHO, THE FLOOR FOR A BED?

    I REALIZED THE FAMILIES THAT I SAW THIS NIGHT,
    OWED THEIR LIVES TO THESE SOLDIERS WHO WERE WILLING TO FIGHT.

    SOON ROUND THE WORLD, THE CHILDREN WOULD PLAY,
    AND GROWNUPS WOULD CELEBRATE A BRIGHT CHRISTMAS DAY.

    THEY ALL ENJOYED FREEDOM EACH MONTH OF THE YEAR,
    BECAUSE OF THE SOLDIERS, LIKE THE ONE LYING HERE.

    I COULDN'T HELP WONDER HOW MANY LAY ALONE,
    ON A COLD CHRISTMAS EVE IN A LAND FAR FROM HOME.

    THE VERY THOUGHT BROUGHT A TEAR TO MY EYE,
    I DROPPED TO MY KNEES AND STARTED TO CRY.

    THE SOLDIER AWAKENED AND I HEARD A ROUGH VOICE,
    "SANTA DON'T CRY, THIS LIFE IS MY CHOICE;

    I FIGHT FOR FREEDOM, I DON'T ASK FOR MORE,
    MY LIFE IS MY GOD, MY COUNTRY, MY CORPS."

    THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER AND DRIFTED TO SLEEP,
    I COULDN'T CONTROL IT, I CONTINUED TO WEEP.

    I KEPT WATCH FOR HOURS, SO SILENT AND STILL
    AND WE BOTH SHIVERED FROM THE COLD NIGHT'S CHILL.

    I DIDN'T WANT TO LEAVE ON THAT COLD, DARK, NIGHT,
    THIS GUARDIAN OF HONOR SO WILLING TO FIGHT.

    THEN THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER, WITH A VOICE SOFT AND PURE,
    WHISPERED, "CARRY ON SANTA, IT'S CHRISTMAS DAY, ALL IS SECURE."

    ONE LOOK AT MY WATCH, AND I KNEW HE WAS RIGHT.
    "MERRY CHRISTMAS MY FRIEND, AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT."



    The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
    I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
    My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
    my daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

    Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
    Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
    The sparkling lights in the tree, I believe,
    Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

    My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
    Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep
    in perfect contentment, or so it would seem.
    So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

    The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
    But I opened my eye when it tickled my ear.
    Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
    Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

    My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
    and I crept to the door just to see who was near.
    Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
    A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

    A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old
    Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
    Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
    Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

    "What are you doing?" I asked without fear
    "Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
    Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
    You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"

    For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
    away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts,
    to the window that danced with a warm fire's light
    then he sighed and he said "It's really all right,

    I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night"
    "Its my duty to stand at the front of the line,
    that separates you from the darkest of times.
    No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
    I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.

    My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
    then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
    My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam
    And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

    I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
    But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
    Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
    The red white and blue... an American flag.

    "I can live through the cold and the being alone,
    Away from my family, my house and my home,
    I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
    I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat,
    I can carry the weight of killing another
    or lay down my life with my sisters and brothers
    who stand at the front against any and all,
    to insure for all time that this flag will not fall."

    "So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright
    Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
    "But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
    "Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
    It seems all too little for all that you've done,
    For being away from your wife and your son."

    Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
    "Just tell us you love us, and never forget
    To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone.
    To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
    For when we come home, either standing or dead,
    to know you remember we fought and we bled
    is payment enough, and with that we will trust.
    That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

  2. #2
    That second one will bring a few tears.
    Where did it come from?
    basil.

  3. #3
    I think, almost sure that these poems where written by our American cousins during the Iraq years. Nevertheless very poignant words spoken we would all agree.

    Our Armed Forces are not looking for anyone’s sympathy, we are looking for support, the type of support that the members of this site have always displayed and we have always appreciated.

    Thank you.

  4. #4
    If that does not bring a tear to your eye you ain't got no heart

    We sleep soundly tonight as these brave souls risk their all to make the world a better place.
    In the news this week we saw sadly some of our boys will be coming home early in a way no one would wish.
    I am sure our hearts go out to their families, and wish all those serving in the conflict zones a Merry Christmas & safe return home.

    God Bless them all

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