Shot blasts over water
To take down rigging and sails —
Cannons broadcast higher and broader
For better reception of iron and nails.
The langrage of the privateers
Holds no surprises, no private code,
But lighted fuses stretch from ears
Toward casks of clauses waiting to explode.
With what are modern canons fillable
To challenge antique rhetoric and ritual?
Precision, calibrated and habitual,
Will crush these shapeless, garbled syllables.
NOTES for Students of English
Langrage was a kind of cannon ammunition used at sea primarily by privateers in the 18th and early 19th centuries for damaging masts, sails, and rigging. It consisted of bolts, nails, and irregularly shaped pieces of iron fastened together or enclosed in a canister.