A Soldier's Night Before Christmas

a-soldiers-version-of-the-night-before-christmas T'was the night before Christmas,
He lived all alone,
in a one bedroom 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 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 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 bedroom home.

The face was so gentle,
the room in  disorder,
not how I pictured,
an Australian soldier.
Was this the hero,
Of whom I'd just read?
curled up on a poncho,
the floor for a bed?
I realized the families,
that I saw this night,
owed their lives to these soldiers,
who were willing to fight.
Soon round the world,
the children would play,
and grownups would celebrate,
a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom,
each month of the year,
because of the soldiers,
like the one lying here.
I couldn't help wonder,
how many lay 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 shivered,
from the cold night's chill. 

I did not want to leave,
on that cold, dark, night,
this guardian of honor,
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."