Konstantin Simonov

Return to the Town

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When you come back into your town,
And women come to meet you there
And hold above their greying heads
The children high into the air,

Perhaps you've played a hero's part!
Don't pride yourself, as you return!
You don't deserve their gratitude -
Forgiveness is the most you'll earn!

You've merely paid a frightful debt
Which you brought on you at the start,
When your retreating regiment
Condemned them to a year apart.

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Konstantin Simonov