Unwise in the Ys

karyogram

 

Unwise in the Ys

We start the wars, we fight the wars,
We win them and we lose them;
We argue out the truces and the peace.
We write the laws, we break the laws,
We honour and abuse them;
And either way, our meddling shall increase.
For we are Men, alas, we’re Men,
We’re being masculine again:
We’ve got the whiskers, got the beer –
We’re patriarchitypes, my dear.
For we are He, alas, Himself;
We’ve got the jobs, we’ve got the wealth.
We must be heard !  We shall be heard !
We started with the final word.

At least, that’s how it’s always told
By critic and historian:
From hunter-gather days of old
To present times – the myth is sold
That ev’ry man is brute and bold,
And endlessly Victorian.
But we are more than legacy,
We’ve learned to share and redefine.
The mercy that you beg of me
Is yours these days as much as mine.
For we are us, thank god, ourselves,
We’ve equal now, not trolls and elves –
But that’s enough from me today,
I’d rather hear what you might say.

 

 

Roofus

ancient architecture building church
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Roofus

How do churches stop the rain ?
And send the downpours down the drain ?
That’s pretty simple to explain –

The footing holds the buttress,
And the buttress holds the flyer,
And the flyer holds the springing,
And the springing takes the strain.
The springers hold the vault ribs,
And the vault ribs holds the kingpost,
And the kingpost holds the rafters –
Both the common and the main.
The rafters holds the purlins,
And the purlins holds the sheathing,
And the sheathing holds the shingles,
And the shingles stop the rain.

 

 

The History of an Industrial Revolution, Located in a Parallel Universe

The Iron Forge
The Iron Forge by Joseph Wright

 

The History of an Industrial Revolution, Located in a Parallel Universe

There was a time before the steam,
The world was truly manned:
Each ditch was dug and plough was drug
By animal or hand;
And all the light to see by came
From tallow or the sun.
So lives would trudge on just the same,
Each short and brutal run.
There was a time before the steam,
The only help was wind or stream;
So up we moved to brook or hill,
Forever lashed to nature’s will –
We’d tap the earth to drive our mill.
A little better, maybe – but we’d only just begun.

There was a time before the steam,
The world was short and slow.
Our only fuel was ox or mule,
Or when the wind might blow.
And all the heat in winter came
From hearths of wood or peat,
With forests lost to make a flame
And give a little heat.
There was a time before the steam,
Before the pitch-black golden seam,
When all the energy not hooved
Could not be bottled, bred or moved.
Our lives could only be improved
By pilgrimage to power on our thousand weary feet.

There was a time before the steam,
The world was harshly ranged;
The days were long, yet swiftly gone,
And nothing ever changed.
But then came coal – the good earth’s soul,
The black and frozen fire –
And finally we took control,
And built our chimneys higher.
There was a time before the steam,
But that was then – before the gleam
Of pistons, valves and proud machines
Whose vapour-thrust provides the means
For endless and precise routines:
To serve our ev’ry labour and to never miss or tire.

There was a time before the steam,
To which we dread return;
But once the coke is up in smoke,
Well, what then will we burn ?
We’ve still got wind and rivers, sure,
But those have local clout.
Their power cannot take a tour
To where there’s folk about.
Will there be times beyond the steam,
A flywheel to prolong the dream ?
If only we can tame the spark –
The lightning bolt, the static arc –
And store it, then release its bark !
Or else we face an Age of Dark, when all the lights go out.

 

 

The Voyage of the Novum Organum

frontispiece
frontispiece from Novum Organum Scientiarum by Francis Bacon, art by anon

 

The Voyage of the Novum Organum

’Twas in the summer of ’20
When our galleon set sale.
Now gather ye, and plenty,
As I lay the fearless tale:
We soon approached the pillars bold
That Hercules himself, we’re told,
Had planted, so’s to say “Behold !
Behold these sights, and quail !
Here lies the End of the Earth, my friends,
And who knows what may lie beyond ?
It’s time to find what you’re worth, my friends,
If dareꞌst ye leave your pond.
Will you view my gates as a warning ?
Then head for home on the turning tide.
Or will you view my gates as a dawning ?
Then pass on through to the other side !”

Who knows if God shall forsake us ?
Who knows where the currents take us ?
Over the seas on our questing quest:
With our fortunes pressed for the holy grail,
As on and on we sail.

So wise old Captain Bacon
Gave the word to pass on through.
We prayed he weren’t mistaken
And a-gambling with his crew.
We sailed betwixt those ancient piers,
And set a course for new frontiers.
Once Argonauts, now pioneers !
’Twas time to earn our due.
“There lies the Start of the Earth, my friends,
When we find out what lies ahead !
It’s time to give rebirth, my friends,
It’s time to raise the dead !”

We knew great riches would await us,
All our maps were full of exes !
We dug up booty with apparatus,
And unearthed keys to fresh complexes.

Follow the clues, be smart and plucky;
Here be dragons, if we’re lucky !
Over the seas on our questing quest:
The better we guessed, the more we unveiled,
As on and on we sailed.

We plumbed that deep wide ocean
So’s to chart her reefs and bars
The first we found was motion –
It was written in the stars !
Then spied we microscopic forms –
A hidden world of tiny swarms.
We shuddered, but we rode such storms,
And better for the scars.
There lies so much joy on this Earth, my friends –
Let’s find out what we share her with !
There’s nowhere upon her in dearth, my friends –
She’s always more to give !
We sailed upon her seas of numbers,
Fathomed her amounts amounting:
Formulas and patterns slumbered –
Ev’rything, we learned, was counting.

And the point where the limit of our learning meets,
There’s always a fair wind filling our sheets.
Over the seas on our questing quest:
The more we professed, the more we regaled,
As on and on we sailed.

The further out our striving,
So the better stocked our stores.
And always we’re arriving
Onto ever-stranger shores.
And on those lands we took our drills
And tapped the streams and dug the hills
And set down bridges, rails and mills,
And just and noble laws.
We learned how the whole of the Earth, my friends,
Is built from the same few blocks, not more !
We learned how the life round her girth, my friends,
Is built from life before !
We sailed away to explore and learn,
And still there is so much more to find !
We know we can never again return
To that ancient world that we left behind.

We’ll never be bored and we’ll never be done;
We’ll never arrive at the setting sun.
Over the seas on our questing quest:
The more we progress, the higher we scale,
As on and on we sail.

 

 

The Problem with Trolleys

asphalt blur blurred blurry
Photo by Burak K on Pexels.com

 

The Problem with Trolleys

Help !  A tramcar hollers and wails !
Careering for workers, three, four, five.
A runaway tram is running the rails –
How will the navvies survive ?
But wait !  A set of points are looming –
Switch the switches, stop the dooming
Of the tappers, unassuming,
Unaware they’re barely alive !

But no !  The branch line also bears
A clueless worker – just the one,
Who hasn’t seen the tram that tears,
All twenty-seven ton.
And there are we, beside the junction,
Knowing points and how they function –
Can we act without compunction,
Should we do what should be done ?

And where has Health & Safety gone,
With workers present on the track ?
There’s something fishy going on,
If no-one’s got their back.
The dead man’s handle’s truly dead,
The brakes un-tripped, the lights un-red.
Reality, it seems, has fled –
Ah well, let’s give their quiz a crack…

They say a tram is loose and live,
So should we pull that fatal lever ?
Should we kill the one…or five ?
It’s easy – we kill neither !
Cut the power, wave our arms !,
And shout a warning, raise alarms !,
To keep all workers safe from harm –
Then no-one needs to be a griever.

Make the shrinks despise and fear us,
Scoffing their contrived disaster –
If they claim the men won’t hear us,
We shout louder !, we run faster !
Who cares for the rules they set ?
We’ve got our own, and better yet.
So will we stop the tram ?  No sweat !
For only we shall be our master.

Makeworking

cherubs
detail from Sistine Madonna by Raphael

 

Makeworking

There isn’t enough to do today,
There isn’t enough to do.
It isn’t as though I enjoy what I do,
The tiresome woe they employ me to do;
But wouldn’t you know, but my tedium grew
As soon as work withered away.
I’ve finished the paper, the internet’s gone,
I have to pretend that I’ve got something on,
I’m barely awake and I’m boozy-lunch tight,
I’m sharpening pencils with nothing to write.