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Song of a silent night

``There's someone coming toward us!'' the front line sentry cried All sights were fixed on one lone figure

trudging from their side His truce flag, like a Christmas star,

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shone on that plain so bright As he bravely strode unarmed into the night. Soon daylight stole upon us,

and France was France once more With sad farewells we each prepared

to settle back to war But the question haunted every heart

that lived that wondrous night ``Whose family have I fixed within my sights?'' 'Twas Christmas in the trenches,

where the frost so bitter hung The frozen fields of France were warmed

as songs of peace were sung; For the walls they'd kept between us

to exact the work of war Had been crumbled and were gone forevermore. My name is Francis Tolliver,

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in Liverpool I dwell Each Christmas come since World War I,

I've learned its lessons well That the ones who call the shots won't be

among the dead and lame And on each end of the rifle we're the same.

Excerpts from ``Christmas in the Trenches,'' by John McCutcheon. Appalseed Productions, Gate City, VA 24251; and Rounder Records, One Camp Street, Cambridge, MA 02140.