Breaking the Silent Night

editorial image

Tired eyes opened and I lifted my head,

And looked out over the parapet.

Strands of barbed wire hummed in the wind,

And snow covered the land like a carpet.

Frozen hands inside wet woollen mitts,

And Balaclavas all covered in snow.

Soldiers resting wherever they could,

Dreaming or thinking of times long ago.

The moon’s silver light was reflected

By icicles on the barbed stranded wire.

Sparkling like strings of blue diamonds,

Or racing along like St Elmo’s fire.

Then the silence of the night was broken,

Strange voices started singing out there.

Silent Night was the song they were singing,

With a hint of loneliness, tinged with despair.

Thousands of soldiers cried silently,

Tears streaming down frozen cheeks.

Thoughts turned to home and families,

As Christmas Day dawned in the east.

Albert Armstrong,

Percy Street,

Hartlepool.