Stopping at Loops on a Snowy Evening, or: 

What the poet Robert Frost would have written 
had he met John [the AutomatorTaylor automating the library.
(Footnotes found below: you must manually scroll down: I'm a bad poet, not a good programmer)


     Whose loops[1] are these?
    They're John's, no doubt.
    Behold the data strewn about;
    His program makes the graceful change
    From garbage in to garbage out.

    His cathode tube must think it strange
       That subscripts[2] wander out of range[3]:
     Some to the lake[4] are seen to creep,
     While others simply make loose change.[5]

    The program gives an error beep
      As if it had a score to keep.
      The only other sound's the chug
      Of mainframe torque and data heap.[8]

    The subroutine is crisp and snug.
      But we must heed the Byline's tug,[9]

    And input bytes til' we debug,
      And input bytes til' we debug.[10]

-        Richard Hacken


[1]"loops" as in "nested loops," a variety of waterfowl last sighted on March 4, 1952 by the Audubon Society in a green pond near Fargo, North Dakota.

[2]"subscript" is not to be confused with "submarine," which can also go "out of range," or "superscript," which is the type of money used by Clark Kent.

[3]"out of range" refers to the distance from the Wasatch Range.

[4]"to the lake" is obviously a mistake, as any self-respecting subscript knows to keep its distance from polluted waters.

[5]This line doesn't make any sense, unless some of the subscripts were hired as bank tellers at Wells Fargo.

[6]If computers can beep when we make a mistake, I assume they can also keep score, and give a printout the first of every month entitled:HEW/HBD/FYP ("Human Errors Which / Have Been Deducted / From Your Paycheck").

[7]You know better than I do whether or not a mainframe "chugs" or not.

[8]"data heap" is such a messy word. Let's just say "digital goulasch" or "information minestrone."

[9] "tug" is not a vessel to help ocean-liners into dock, but just a word I had to use to rhyme with "chug" and also "de-bug."

 [10]"input bytes 'til we debug" refers to a strange custom found in the lake district of Finland (which is extensive, as you know), in which citizens visiting from Helsinki swarm to the saunas to have their scalps checked for lice, all the while eating bytes of a funny-looking pudding.