Abstract: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.