Arms and the Boy

By Wilfred Owen 1893–1918 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, blunt bullet-leads, 
Which long to nuzzle 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.

Source: The Poems of Wilfred Owen, edited by Jon Stallworthy (W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., 1986)

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Poet Wilfred Owen 1893–1918

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Subjects War & Conflict, Living, Social Commentaries, Youth

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Consonance

 Wilfred  Owen

Biography

Wilfred Owen, who wrote some of the best British poetry on World War I, composed nearly all of his poems in slightly over a year, from August 1917 to September 1918. In November 1918 he was killed in action at the age of twenty-five, one week before the Armistice. Only five poems were published in his lifetime—three in the Nation and two that appeared anonymously in the Hydra, a journal he edited in 1917 when he was a patient at . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT War & Conflict, Living, Social Commentaries, Youth

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Consonance

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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