They are cutting down the great plane-trees at the end of the gardens.
For days there has been the grate of the saw, the swish of the branches as they fall
Not yet will those measureless fields be green again
Where only yesterday the wild sweet blood of wonderful youth was shed
The cruelty in this poem is overwhelming – as Sassoon intended. So opposed was he to jingoistic propaganda, he deliberately slashed very tender imagery with the sharpest irony.
Seventeen years ago you said
Something that sounded like Good-bye;
And everybody thinks that you are dead,
Rain, midnight rain, nothing but the wild rain
On this bleak hut, and solitude, and me