Monday, January 28, 2008

The Madness

Arms and the Boy

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, blunt bullet-heads
Which long to muzzle in the hearts of lads.
Or give him cartridges of fine zinc teeth,
Sharp with the 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.

By Wilfred Owen (1893-1918). Text via Poetry Foundation.

Portrait of a Boy Soldier, Nashville, Tennessee, ca. 1860-65 [LC-B8184-10573 (27)] via Wikimedia Commons.

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