Sonnet on Seeing A Piece Of Our Heavy Artillery Brought Into the Action
by Wilfred Owen
Be slowly lifted up, thou long black arm, Great gun towering towards Heaven, about to curse; Sway steep against them, and for years rehearse Huge imprecations like a blasting charm! Reach at that Arrogance which needs thy harm, And beat it down before its sins grow worse; Spend our resentment, cannon,—yea, disburse Our gold in shapes of flame, our breaths in storm.
Yet, for men’s sakes whom thy vast malison Must wither innocent of enmity, Be not withdrawn, dark arm, thy spoilure done, Safe to the bosom of our prosperity. But when thy spell be cast complete and whole, May God curse thee, and cut thee from our soul!
Source: The Poems of Wilfred Owen, edited by Jon Stallworthy (W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., 1986)