In the first stanza, we are introduced to the physical disability of the soldier, “legless, sewn short at elbow”. Not only has he lost his legs and an arm, he has also lost the meaning of his life. He is insensitive to the sounds of youth and vigour from boys playing in the park, only feeling morose, instead of joy, as “voices of boys rang saddening like a hymn”.
The words, “dark”, “shivered”, “ghastly” and “grey”, as shown in the first stanza, reveal the isolation of the soldier. This is a sharp contrast to the second stanza, where “Town used to swing so gay” and “glow-lamps budded in the light blue trees”, a sense of euphoria and romance is in the air. It seems to suggest that the halcyon days of youth and romance are nothing more than distant memories to him, gone forever, reducing him to a cripple, devoid of joy and happiness.
In addition to the fact that he had become physically handicapped, he has been psychologically scarred as he will be shunned by women, “now he will never feel again how slim girls’ waists are, or how warm their subtle hands”.
In the fourth stanza, when he was a young soccer player, “he liked a blood-smear down his leg, after the matches, carried shoulder-high”, showing us that injuries made him feel proud and confident, as he’d be celebrated by others. This is ironic as his injuries from war, the loss of his legs and arm, evoked only unhappiness in himself, making him feel outcast by everyone, especially women.
Also, “smiling they wrote his lie: aged nineteen years” shows that the soldier had been enlisted into the army at a young age. Fighting for his country in the war at nineteen years of age seems to have limited his youthful days and shortened his chance to...