Verse 2: About this time Town used to swing so gay
When glow-lamps budded in the light blue trees,
And girls glanced lovelier as the air grew dim,-
In the old times, before he threw away his knees.
Now he will never feel again how slim
Girls' waists are, or how warm their subtle hands.
All of them touch him like some queer disease.
In the second verse we see that he missing going out with women and that they all treat him differently because he is disabled, when he is actually mentally healthy, but not physically healthy.
Verse 3: There was an artist silly for his face,
For it was younger than his youth, last year.
Now, he is old; his back will never brace;
He's lost his colour very far from here,
Poured it down shell-holes till the veins ran dry,
And half his lifetime lapsed in the hot race
And leap of purple spurted from his thigh.
In the third verse the poet tells us that the man knew somebody that had been an artist but because he went to war, his artistic side was ‘poured down the drain’, and that he had been shot in the thigh. The man was quite young and had spent about half his life fighting in the war.
Verse 4: One time he liked a blood-smear down his leg,
After the matches, carried shoulder-high.
It was after football, when he'd drunk a peg,
He thought he'd better join.-He wonders why.
Someone had said he'd look a god in kilts,
That's why; and maybe, too, to please his Meg,
Aye, that was it, to please the giddy jilts
He asked to join. He didn't have to beg;
Smiling they wrote his lie: aged nineteen years.
Germans he scarcely thought of; all their guilt,
And Austria's, did not move him. And no fears
Of Fear came yet. He thought of jewelled hilts
For daggers in plaid socks; of smart salutes;
And care of arms; and leave; and pay arrears;
Esprit de corps; and hints for young recruits.
And soon, he was drafted out with drums and cheers.
The 4th verse tells us that when he used to like bleeding for example after the football matches, as it made him feel ‘tough’. It also tells us that after a match he used to enjoy going with his friends to the pub to have a drink. He liked to drink with his friends and some women and they always lied about their age.
Verse 5: Some cheered him home, but not as crowds cheer Goal.
Only a solemn man who brought him fruits
Thanked him; and then inquired about his soul.
The 5th verse is saying that when he came home from war there were a few people cheering him but never as much as at a football game when he scored a goal. One man did on the other hand and he brought him fruits and asked about what happened and how he felt. This is showing that the man felt unappreciated after all he had gone through nobody seemed to care.
Verse 6: Now, he will spend a few sick years in institutes,
And do what things the rules consider wise,
And take whatever pity they may dole.
Tonight he noticed how the women's eyes
Passed from him to the strong men that were whole.
How cold and late it is! Why don't they come
And put him into bed? Why don't they come?
The 6th verse is set in the future and it says that he will spend the rest of his life in institutes. And people would sometimes take pity on him it also says that they put him to bed when it suits them not him.