A Carol From Flanders

Poetic Beats

Welcome to the final Poetic Beats of 2017 with Howard Bond and Davy D, recorded on the 18th of December 2017 on Red Kite Radio.

In this programme we look at the poem, A Carol From Flanders, by Frederick Niven, focusing on the Christmas truce which occurred along the Western Front in the First World War. The poem is a reminder that, whatever is happening in the world, there is still a window for joy and hope.

Poetic Beats will be taking a break for the holiday season and Poetic Beats posts will resume on Friday the 12th of January 2018. Thank you for all the time and support you have given to this project in 2017 and we look forward to sharing more poetry and inspiration with you in 2018.

If you have difficulty accessing the recording, a text version of the poem is provided after the sound bar.

To hear this week’s Poetic Beats please press the arrow to the left of the sound bar.

 

A Carol From Flanders

 

In Flanders on the Christmas morn

The trenched foemen lay,

the German and the Briton born,

And it was Christmas Day.

 

The red sun rose on fields accurst,

The gray fog fled away;

But neither cared to fire the first,

For it was Christmas Day!

 

They called from each to each across

The hideous disarray,

For terrible has been their loss:

“Oh, this is Christmas Day!”

 

Their rifles all they set aside,

One impulse to obey;

‘Twas just the men on either side,

Just men and Christmas Day.

 

They dug the graves for all their dead

And over them did pray:

And Englishmen and Germans said:

“How strange a Christmas Day!”

 

Between the trenches then they met,

Shook hands, and e’en did play

At games on which their hearts were set

On happy Christmas Day.

 

Not all the emperors and kings,

Financiers and they

Who rule us could prevent these things

For it was Christmas Day.

 

Oh ye who read this truthful rime

From Flanders, kneel and say:

God speed the time when every day

Shall be as Christmas Day.

 

Frederick Niven

 

17 Comments

Lovely stuff Davy, it is such an incredible thing but laced with such sadness. I always wonder if after they returned to the trenches some of them had a foe they recognised as having just met in No man’s land, in their sights, and did they squeeze the trigger.

Liked by 2 people

    I know Nigel, the whole thing brings a myriad of conflicting thoughts. When I was researching it was difficult to understand that they were celebrating Christmas with soldiers who they would either kill or kill them the next day. I appreciate your thoughts on this and taking time out to listen.

    Liked by 1 person

A great theme to end your poetic year on, Davy. Hope allows for one window opening as another closes. So sad, and a great shame, that the future seems to learn little from the past.

Liked by 2 people

    So true Roland. You would think that our history would pave the way for a brighter future, but I suppose power and greed cast the same shadows no matter what the age. Thanks for taking time out to listen Roland and for your valued and continued support for Poetic Beats.

    Liked by 1 person

Aww.. i agree with Roland. I haven’t lived that long but it’s sad to think that we never learn from the past. Or perhaps, we refuse to. Sigh.

Happy holidays to you, D. πŸ™‚

Liked by 1 person

    It is a difficult one and I would like to think that my generation would lay some positive paths for younger generations coming behind. Thanks for listening and commenting Maria and hope you have a blessed and happy holiday break πŸ™‚

    Like

Without looking at the full history, this poem is beautiful, miraculous and hopeful, and I fully enjoyed listening. A reminder to be thankful for each and every good moment. Have a blessed Christmas!

Liked by 1 person

    You too Gilda and a big thank you for all the help and support you have given me with the blog this year. I think this shows that even in the worst times for humanity there is still a glimmer of hope. Have a blessed and happy holiday season.

    Liked by 1 person

      You are so welcome! Reading your blog is always a bright spot in my day & truly my pleasure. I only wish I could keep up, haha…daily blogging is quite impressive! Enjoy your holidays too DavyπŸŽ„

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Poiniant, and as always, Davy, completely relevant. My Dads uncle never made it back from the Somme. 17. Makes you stop and just take stock.

Liked by 1 person

    So true Epworth and even more poignant for those who had family who never returned. It is from events like this that hopefully we can learn as a race. Thanks for taking time out to listen and comment and have a great Christmas and 2018.

    Like

This poem and it’s subject matter has always amazed me and, also, saddened me.

I’ve always hoped that people could focus on the many things all human beings have in common and put aside the few differences…and seek to get along and help each other to have love, joy, hope, acceptance, respect, family, and such…the important things of life.

But, it seems this has never been completely possible. 😦

HUGS!!! and I so enjoyed hearing you read, and talk, again, Davy! I look forward to more in January 2018! πŸ™‚

Liked by 1 person

The poem is a wonderful share, Davy. Food for thought, indeed.

Liked by 1 person

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