First World War Poetry Digital Archive

Arms And The Boy

ARMS AND THE BOY by WILFRED OWEN

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

Lend him to stroke these blind, blung bullet-leads, Which long to nuzzle in the hearts of lads, Or give him cartridges whose fine zinc teeth Are sharp with sharpness of grief and death.

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

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