Along the Western Front

Erik Rittenberry

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Christmas Eve, 103 years ago tonight,
the world burns burns burns like
the furnace it is, but a hard freeze
sets in after an agonizing week
of wind & rain 
along the Western Front.

Tired and ragged soldiers on both sides
of a senseless, brutal war
emerge, with hands up,
from the trenches
harmonizing Silent Night
in unison
as the snow begins to fall.

For just a few hours, these war-torn
adversaries come together
as allies, as friends, as brothers.

They defy the rules of war,
ignore commands from generals
and politicians, and chisel out
their own peace. A peace not granted
by their masters. Two enemies, together,
under a bleak sky in fields of blood and bones,
laugh and sip whiskey and smoke cigars,
while sharing gifts as the grey dawn
gives way to the bloodshed again.

But for one night, just one night, these
young soldiers escaped the…

View original post 33 more words

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