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The Retreat

 this time has finished me.
I feel like the German troops whipped by snow and the communists walking bent with newspapers stuffed into worn boots.
my plight is just as terrible.
maybe more so.
victory was so close victory was there.
as she stood before my mirror younger and more beautiful than any woman I had ever known combing yards and yards of red hair as I watched her.
and when she came to bed she was more beautiful than ever and the love was very very good.
eleven months.
now she's gone gone as they go.
this time has finished me.
it's a long road back and back to where? the guy ahead of me falls.
I step over him.
did she get him too?

by Henry Vaughan
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