Siegfried Sassoon was one of the first to write poetry about the brutal reality of war, based on his real-life experiences in the trenches. He served in World War I on the Western Front and was awarded the Military Cross for bravery under fire. However, he later became a convicted pacifist, threw his Military Cross into the Mersey river, and continued to write and publish poems and political statements against the war. His poems capture the despair he felt towards the war overall, and he paints vivid word pictures that make the reader "pray you'll never know, the hell where youth and laughter go".
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