Another Christmas poem

  wiz-king 12:50 02 Dec 2007

With a difference - came to me by email from South Africa, it has been sent to a lot of my friends out there.

T'was the night before Christmas, he lived all alone
in a one-bedroomed house made of plaster and stone
I had come down the chimney with presents to give
and to see just who in this home did live

I looked all about a strange sight I did see
no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree
no stocking by the mantle, just boots filled with sand
on the wall hung pictures of far distant lands
with medals and badges, awards of all kinds
a sober thought came through my mind

for this house was different, it was dark and dreary
I'd found the home of a soldier, once I could see clearly
the soldier lay sleeping silent alone
curled up on the floor in this one-bedroomed home

his face was so gentle, the room in such disorder
not how I pictured a lone British soldier.
Was this the hero of whom I'd just read
curled up on a poncho, the floor for a bed?

I realised the families that I'd seen this night
owed their lives to these soldiers who were willing to fight
soon around the world the children would play
and grown-ups would celebrate a bright Christmas day

They all enjoy freedom each month of the year
because of the soldiers, like the one lying here
I couldn't help wonder how many more were alone
on a cold Christmas Eve in a land far from home

The very thought brought a tear to my eye
I dropped to my knees and started to cry
the soldier awakened and I heard a rough voice
'Santa, don't cry. This life is my choice
I fight for freedom, I don't ask for more
my life is my God, my country, my corps.'

The soldier rolled over and drifted to sleep
I couldn't control it, I continued to weep
I kept watch for hours so silent and still
and we both sat and shivered from the cold nights chill
I didn't want to leave on that cold dark night
this guardian of honour so willing to fight

Then the soldier rolled over with a voice soft and pure
whispered 'carry on Santa. It's Christmas day, all is secure'
One look at my watch and I knew he was right
'Merry Christmas my friend, and to all a good night'

This poem was written by a peace keeping soldier stationed overseas. The following is his request:

Please would you do me the kind favour of sending this to as many people as you can. Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our British service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities.

  crosstrainer 12:59 02 Dec 2007

What can I say? lost for words

  crosstrainer 13:03 02 Dec 2007

Many lost friends....I am not ashamed to admit that I am in tears...

  Forum Editor 13:37 02 Dec 2007

since when it has been posted on literally thousands of websites across the globe - in each case the last paragraph has the name of the country concerned. It's probably one of the most successful messages ever circulated on the internet, and you can see why.

  Bingalau 16:17 02 Dec 2007

Yes, I recieved this same poem about two years ago, the Soldier then was a US marine, I converted it/him to a Royal Marine and forwarded it to all the bootnecks I knew at the time. I've seen a few different versions of it since.

  Proclaimer 17:13 02 Dec 2007

here are some facts about this poem and the author

The poem's true author is, James M. Schmidt, who was a Lance Corporal stationed in Washington, D.C. He wrote the poem back in 1986.

The 'true' story is that while a Lance Corporal serving as Battalion Counter Sniper at the Marine Barracks 8th & I Washington, DC, under Commandant P.X. Kelly and Battalion Commander D.J. Myers [in 1986],

"I wrote this poem to hang on the door of the Gym in the BEQ. When Colonel Myers came upon it, he read it and immediately had copies sent to each department at the Barracks and promptly dismissed the entire Battalion early for Christmas leave."

The poem was placed that day in the Marine Corps Gazette, distributed worldwide and later submitted to Leatherneck Magazine. click here

Schmidt's original version, entitled "Merry Christmas, My Friend," was published in Leatherneck (Magazine of the Marines) in December 1991, a full two years before it was supposedly "written" by someone else on Christmas Eve 1993 (and had appeared in the Barracks publication 'Pass in Review' four years before it was printed in Leatherneck).

As Leatherneck wrote of the poem's author in 2003:

"Merry Christmas, My Friend" has been a holiday favorite among "leatherneckphiles" for nearly the time it takes to complete a Marine Corps career. Few, however, know who wrote it and when.

Former Corporal James M. Schmidt, stationed at Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., pounded it out 17 years ago on a typewriter while awaiting the commanding officer's Christmas holiday decorations inspection . . . while other leathernecks strung lights for the Barracks' annual Christmas decoration contest, Schmidt contributed his poem to his section.

Over the years the text of "Merry Christmas, My Friend" has been altered to change Marine-specific wording into Army references (including the title: U.S. Marines do not refer to themselves as "soldiers") and to incorporate line-ending rhyme changes necessitated by those alterations.

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