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The man who entered my compartment on that train

Crossing the winter-gripped Ukraine

Looked twice my age, but strong and tough;

The kind whose war-time youth was rough;

He said "Hello," then paused a bit

And took his seat.

The train was crawling; we were looking outside;

Another town was in sight;

A park, a church, a monument

To a Resistance fighter hanged.

"They honor heroes," I said,

And turned my head.

The man looked grim, a muscle was twitching on his face;

"Young man, I fought in those days;

Killed murderers, was stabbed; was shot;

Had friends: a brave, daring lot;

The most courageous of them all

Was a young girl.

I first met Tanya in the fall of 41;

Kiev had just been overrun;

I was a soldier, had to hide;

The partisans were hard to find;

Tanya and her Resistance friends

Saved me from death.

I wish I had, the man continued, the words

To tell you what a girl she was;

Her gentle beauty to describe;

Her magnetism; her love of life.

And no photos of her

Survived the war.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2003-12-01

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