Quote/Poem A Different Christmas

John A Silkstone

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I think you all know that I like poetry; I came across this one and thought I must share it with the lads.

Silky

A DIFFERENT CHRISTMAS

By LCDR Jeff Giles SC USN
30th Naval construction Regt,
OIC Logistics Cell One
Al Taqqadum Iraq


The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, Angelic in rest
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe'
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know
Then the sound of footsteps outside in the snow
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night.
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight
A soldier I puzzled some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled
Standing watch over me, and my wife and child
What are you doing? I asked without fear
Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here
Put down your pack; brush the snow from your sleeve
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said" It’s really all right
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night
It's my duty to stand at the front of the line
That separates you from the darkest of times
No one had to ask or beg or implore me
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me
My Gramps died at Pearl on a day in December
Then he sighed that’s a Christmas Gram always remembers
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of' Nam
And now it's my turn and so, here I am
I've not seen my son in more than a while
But my wife sends me pictures; he's sure got her smile
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag
The red, white and blue ...An American flag
I can live through the cold and the being alone
Away from my family my house and my home
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat
I can carry the weight of killing another
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother
Who stands at the front against any and all?
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall
So go back inside he said and harbor no fright
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right
But isn't there something I can do at the least
Give you money I asked or prepare you a feast
It seems all too little for all that you've done
For being away from your wife and your son
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret
Just tell us you love us and never forget
To fight for rights back at home while we're gone
To stand your own watch no matter how long
For when we come home either standing or dead
To know you remember we fought and we bled
Is payment enough, and with that we trust
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.
 

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