A fire was lit one December night
Dim forms and sparks flittering 'round the blaze;
The soldiers and I talk of memories,
Remembrances of home Christmas days.
The wintry snow falls overhead
As the wind wails and screeches by;
Cold and alone my young men tread
Gazing on that one star in the sky.
I wonder now as I warm my toes
I can hear teeth chattering overhead,
While here I sit as the fire glows
And sorrowful recollection leads me to the dead.
From a distance I can hear the past years
The laughter from my father, kind and low,
The hankie my mother wiped away her tears
Those peaceful memories of the Long Ago.
My mind wanders to my days back home again,
Thoughts and flashes two and fro
Granddad starting his story "Now then…"
My sweetheart and I kissing 'neath the mistletoe.
Will I ever march home to my girl again
To offer her my love and kiss?
Will I see a Church, before I die with my men
My love and family, you I truly miss…
There is not a man who settles here tonight
Who does not dream of their Far Away;
"God, bring us from this fight!"
On bended knee we deeply pray.
I feel the tender mother's kiss,
The child's gladdened eyes,
The bow and fiddle that I miss
The joyous children's surprise.
Tonight these soldiers faces are all alone
Asleep within the quiet crackling of twigs
Their joy and spirit – it is lost and gone
But down in their warm hearts, love lives.
I can dream of the Mother kneeling by
I hear the Wiseman's snowy tread
Following that one star in the sky
As the snow falls overhead.
I can picture them in the smelly old barn
Where the fading fire-light starts and falls
Alone in the twilight's tender arm
Within shadows, dancing on dim-lit walls.
I now see the majestic face of a Child just born
With the Woman's tender love this very night
And the Angel's, they bow down to adore
Singing with the shadows of fading light.
But alas… Now I am back here on the bloodied front,
Fighting back the far-off tears
My rifle in hand, by saber in sheath,
Wondering sweetly of those far-off years.