The ’net was bustling with e-mail, whisking through fiber optics,
The data sped to sites from North America to the tropics,
As outside, the oblivious sun retired, signaling the end of the day,
The info highwayman came plugging—
The info highwayman came plugging, into the info super’way
He’d a six-pack of Jolt cola on his side, thick glasses on his nose,
Long exposure to the computer had paralyzed him to his toes;
Yet those fingers! Dexterous fingers; the keyboard they did pound!
And he surfed the net with his fingers,
With those lithe, quick, dexterous fingers,
With those lightning-fast fingers, he pondered what info might be found.
Over miles of optic cable he telnetted far and wide,
And he wrote an e-mail love note to one he wished to be his bride.
He clicked the “send” button and, lo!, who appeared on the screen
But the one he wished to woo,
Bess, the one he wished to woo,
Writing a love note of her own that was bordering on obscene.
And dark in a dark, tall building another surfed the ’net,
A government employee, with no warrants needed to get;
His eyes were on the love-notes almost ere they were sent,
And he was going to punish ’em,
Yes, he was going to punish ’em,
But he watched and listened carefully, silent and reticent.
“One word, my girlfriend, I’m to hack a network tonight,”
He typed, “But I shall be done before outside it is light;
Yet, if they catch me in the act, and chase me through the ’net,
Then look for me on AOL—
Watch for me on AOL
I’ll come to thee on AOL, dear, there is no need to fret.”
Yet at that very moment, the government employee stirred,
Like a tiger about to pounce on prey, he victoriously purred;
He shot an e-mail through the ’net, and the following it invoked:
“By authority of the government,
The almighty, benevolent government,
Your internet privileges are revoked.”
See the original "The Highwayman" by Alfred Noyes at http://commonplacebook.com/poems/highway.shtm (Thanks to Kim Bui for fixing the link.)
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©1996 By Luke Swartz. All Rights Reserved.