I was trying to figure out how to get into the spirit of Great War Christmas cheer, which when you start to think about it, might not actually reflect cheer.
But then I found this web page that across the top has the words, “Refreshing Aussie Sarcasm.” How could you not find Christmas cheer in such a heading?
The page contains the poem of an Australian soldier named Leslie George Rub entitled, “Christmas Day on the Somme.” Rub apparently wrote the poem in 1916, and the author of the web page states that it could only have been written by an Australian. Maybe so, but it seems to reflect the doubts many a soldier has had about their leaders. I find it fun, even if the humor is a little dark.
Christmas Day On The Somme
’Twas Christmas Day on the Somme
The men stood on parade,
The snow laid six feet on the ground
Twas twenty in the shade.
Up spoke the Captain ‘gallant man’,
“Just hear what I’ve to say,
You may not have remembered that
Today is Christmas Day.”
“The General has expressed a wish
This day may be observed,
Today you will only work eight hours,
A rest that’s well deserved.
I hope you’ll keep yourselves quite clean
And smart and spruce and nice,
The stream is frozen hard
But a pick will break the ice.”
“All men will get two biscuits each,
I’m sure you’re tired of bread,
I’m sorry there’s no turkey
but there’s Bully Beef instead.
The puddings plum have not arrived
But they are on their way,
I’ll guarantee they’ll be in time
To eat next Christmas Day.”
“You’re parcels would have been in time
But I regret to say
The vessel which conveyed them was
Torpedoed on the way.
The Quartermaster’s got your rum
But you may get some yet,
Each man will be presented with
A Woodbine Cigarette.”
“The Huns have caught us in the rear
And painted France all red,
Pray do not let that trouble you,
Tomorrow you’ll be dead.
Now ere you go I wish you all
This season of good cheer,
A very happy Christmas and
A prosperous New Year.”