Konstantin Simonov

The Coward

I know your sort - you ran away!
And so you saved your skin today!
You are a coward. More than this -
Your crime was worse than cowardice.
Perhaps you neither know nor care,
But you are now a murderer!
The trench, abandoned in your flight,
A German sniper took that night.
To get it back, another man
Must face the fire from which you ran;
And in reclaiming what you lost,
That man, alas! will pay the cost.
Don't dare to mourn the loss of life!
Don't dare to pity that man's wife!

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At the Stage Door