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Wilfred Owen (1893-1918)

Arms and the Boy


              1Let the boy try along this bayonet-blade
              2How cold steel is, and keen with hunger of blood;
              3Blue with all malice, like a madman's flash;
              4And thinly drawn with famishing for flesh.

              5Lend him to stroke these blind, blunt bullet-heads
              6Which long to muzzle in the hearts of lads.
              7Or give him cartridges of fine zinc teeth,
              8Sharp with the sharpness of grief and death.

              9For his teeth seem for laughing round an apple.
            10There lurk no claws behind his fingers supple;
            11And God will grow no talons at his heels,
            12Nor antlers through the thickness of his curls.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Wilfred Owen, Poems By Wilfred Owen with an Introduction by Siegfried Sassoon (London: Chatto and Windus, 1921): 10. PR 6029 W4P6 Robarts Library
First publication date: 1918
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1996-2000.
Recent editing: 2:2001/12/6

Composition date: 1918
Rhyme: aabb (consonant-rhymes)


Other poems by Wilfred Owen