The scabbard wants its negative;
Grip and pommel scarce can guard
The jagged tang, for on it thicker
Clots the knight than foe on blade.

The rifle's flesh to bone is rimed,
Corrupted—fused with like white heat,
Hungry rust or binding frost
As barrel, breech and chamber clog.

Most shrapnel thickly skyward swarms,
Up, swift up the bomb's long arc.
It flies true to the bombardier,
To pierce and burrow, fester, maim.

What youth is not surprised to find—
Loosing anger's early blow—
His nails grown sharper, longer in
The soft palm of his clenchèd hand?


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