I often think of how the day after the holiday it's like nothing happened. The day after Christmas is devoted to returning gifts and bargain shopping. The day after New Year's is marked by the return to work and possibly an ongoing hangover. Thanksgiving gives way to Black Friday and the only thing for which thanks is given is a parking spot close to the store entrance. I started thinking about the day after November 11, 1918. What happened the day after the guns fell silent. The result was this:
November 12, 1918
And today the guns are silent, they say it’s the end of the war.
With quiet now I am reminded of those who are here no more.
Yesterday we shouted, and yesterday we cheered.
Today I am confronted by the shades of those no longer here.
Yesterday the world celebrated, and the parties went on past dawn
Today the world does not think of those who are now gone
And though the shooting is over, I remain here in my trench
With no reminder of the war except for death’s immortal stench
There are ships at port just waiting to sail home at high tide
But those at home sit and wait not knowing who has died
I leave the trench behind, of muck, and powder, vermin and lice
Knowing the feeling of a condemned gladiator given freedom and his life
I gambled against gas, machine gun, shell, bullet, and sharpened spade.
I will never bet again, my life’s fortune has been made.
By Generals and ministers Medals and ribbons upon my chest are pinned
But do they wash away or just cover the multitude of my sins
I venture homeward now the course of life is set.
For it is the twelfth of November and the world has already started to forget.