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Crossed Lines

On a Christmas cold in a place unknown
A boy of eighteen broke the stone
Dividing the enemy from the evil
Divining the chance for quiet upheaval

He took to the mud with a rock in hand
Tooth-breaking bread, terribly bland
But the gift was the smile he gave on the side
And the one in return that spun the tide

For twenty-four hours the enemy vanished
For twenty-four hours their barriers banished
They ate and drank and laughed and talked
And so close to friendship they nearly forgot.

How easy it was to break the battle
When not being herded about like cattle.
How easily peace came; while war needed generals.
For a moment he wondered, could this be perennial?

But as the hours fell away, so followed their bond
And what was so right turned utterly wrong.
Still one little soldier, too young to turn sour
Did not forget those fleeting hours.

As he looked down the barrel of his mud-strewn rifle,
He spotted himself in the eyes of his rival.
They forever forgave, and they never forgot
The time and the point where the other was shot.


On a Christmas cold in a safe warm home
A man, twenty-eight, recalled his foes.
The ones who were killed and the ones who survived
The ones who brought merriment to hellish lives.

His children held close in his one good arm,
He told them a story in the twinkling calm.
There is magic on Christmas he assured them and said,
“But it doesn’t arrive in a magical sled.

For twenty-four hours, ten years ago,
For twenty-four hours, I made friends of foes.
In the midst of fear, in the face of death,
We managed to draw an unlabored breath.

As the hours fell away, we drifted apart
But, at least some of us, didn’t lose heart.
So very different, we still got along.
They may not remember, it’s been so long.

But I wish you, my children, forever will;
For differing hearts are no reason to kill.
If we can realize this on one magical night,
I hope that one day we won’t have to fight.”

They thanked him for the story and ran to the tree
To find Santa’s goodies and bundles of glee.
Then entered their mother, a letter in hand,
“No name, no address. I don’t understand.”

On a Christmas cold, in a cream envelope,
Were four words bearing resolute hope.
In loopy writing, inky blue:
Merry Christmas - Thank you



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