I can think of only two other poems about killing which deserve to be bracketed with 'How to Kill'. The first is Hardy's Boer War poem, 'The Man He Killed', in which the protagonist tries to escape from his own experience ('I shot at him as he at me') into the generalities of the second-person pronoun ('You shoot a fellow down'). The second is Siegfried Sassoon's 'The Kiss':
To these I turn, in these I trust;
Brother Lead and Sister Steel.
To his blind power I make appeal;
I guard her beauty clean from rust.
He spins and burns and loves the air,
And splits a skull to win my praise;
But up the nobly marching days
She glitters naked, cold and fair.
Sweet Sister, grant your soldier this;
That in good fury he may feel
The body where he sets his heel
Quail from your downward darting kiss.
Sassoon wrote some years later that the poem had been inspired by a lecture on the use of the bayonet in which the lecturer, a major, had spoken with 'homicidal eloquence'. Bullet and bayonet, the major reported, were brother and sister. Sassoon was puzzled by 'The Kiss', feeling that he never could have 'stuck a bayonet in anyone', but admitting that the poem 'doesn't show any sign of satire'.
There is, as Sassoon admits, little reason not to take the poem as a strange sadistic fantasy. The bayonet is eroticised --- but eroticised, disturbingly enough, as the soldier's naked 'sister' whose very kiss is fatal. The 'kiss' is itself a curious description, covering up a sexual metaphor which is more obviously thrusting and penetrative. And yet the bayonet's gender resolutely resists the metaphor's logic, so that the poem is at war with itself, at once revealing and withholding, accepting agency and shifting agency from soldier to bayonet. Paradoxically, in its tongue-tied confusions 'The Kiss' comes as close to homicidal eloquence as any poem from the First World War.