O strange and savage blade,

What alien mind

Devised your cruel curve.

What use to serve,

What purposes to find,

And for what nameless horror were you made.


I heft you in my hand,

A sentient thing,

You twist within my grip.

However held, you slip,

And turn for a downward swing,

Strange weapon of a stranger land.


Unsheathed, you must draw blood;

So runs the tale

Told with bated breath.

Curved instrument of death,

How would your masters pale,

To know I use you now for chopping wood!


H. St.Vincent Beechey

Spring 1955