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Larry was a Mariner

by Audrey Tang and Allison Randal

Larry was a mariner
Who tarried in the world of C;
He built a tool from sed and awk
In Unix shell to script things free.

Its operators vast and fair,
Of dollars were its sigils made;
The syntax wrought with utmost care,
And “Perl” upon its banners laid.

In panoply of pumpkin kings,
In three virtues it shone for him;
Its regexes were scored with runes
To match all \n+ and \w+ for him.

Its POD made writing docs a breeze,
Its arrays indexed orderly;
Its hashes were looked up with keys
Its sockets flowed with TCP.

Its harnessed tests were valiant,
Of adamant its manpage tall;
A tour de force upon his pen,
Upon its cover a Camel.

Beneath Smalltalk and under CLOS
He wandered far in OO halls,
blessed with enchanted names
Unveiled the use of method calls.

From FETCH and STORE of magic ties
Where XS hooked with foreign code,
From nested refs and scoped mys,
Ahead he dived, in deep hack mode.

One starless night in ‘94
At last he came to Version Five,
Released, and from this mighty core
A thousand modules sprung to life.

Then world-wide web came driving him,
And wildly on the net Perl spread
From west to east, a noisy mess;
And comp.lang.perl was filled with dread.

There flying CPAN came to him,
And flame was in the darkness lit;
More bright than light of diamond
Flared through mirrors on FUNet.

Communities surrounded him
And crowned him with the living light,
And dauntless then the Monger crew
They turned his prow; and in the night

From otherworlds within the Net
There strong and free Phalanx arose,
A wind of power blows CPAN smokes
Where #perl and the Perl Monk goes.

As, with lively breath
Delivered news across the web,
So use.perl had journaled long;
From east to west they lit the day.

On P5P waged trollish wars
With black and roaring flames that ran
O’er trivial dots and underscores
That drowned new porters unbegun.

Until they heard the smashing mugs
That end the world where boredom reigned;
A new Perl free from warts and bugs
A sense of moment now regained.

He saw the Rewrite silent rise
Where twilight lies upon the knees
Of lean Refactor, and Surprise
Beheld afar beyond the seas.

A prophet reappeared from night,
To Camelfolk he made a speech
Of fresh Community Rewrite,
With much to learn and much to teach.

Beyond the halls of TPC,
A-glimmer with a new hope near,
The tidings of Apocalypse,
Are mirrored through the Blogosphere.

He tallied then the RFCs,
And PDLs they brought to him,
And Lispers old him macros told,
And OO tricks were sought for him.

They clothed him in Designer’s Sleeves,
Three hundred scrolls before him lay,
As through three hundred morns and eves,
In hidden lands he found his way.

He came unto the timeless Book,
Where Camel rode the countless years.
The endless chapters pondered through,
In volumes like the mountain sheer.

And words unheard were spoken then,
Of Good, of Bad, and Ugly Sin.
Beyond the world were visions showed,
Announced to those that dwell therein.

A Perl then new they built for him,
Of Parrot and of PGE.
Continuation – subtle art!
So cunning in its assembly!

Synopses as a lantern light,
And banner bright of TODO tests,
The λ-powered Pugs did fly,
On Parrot, Perl5 and JS.

With wings immortal made for it,
He laid on them undying Kewl,
To sail the shoreless skies and bring
The word proclaiming “Perl 6 Rules!”

From gatherings of Camel tribes,
Where ideas pour as fountains fall,
Its wings them bore, a spreading light,
Beyond the saintly Larry Wall.

From realms of Perl they sailed around,
And yearned again to find afar,
The Elephants, Rhinos, Snakes and Gems,
And radiating as clouds of stars,

On high above the mists they came,
To link between the agile clans,
A wonder forged by Open Folks,
Where symphonies of Free Code run.

And then one day as prophesied,
We’ll land at last on distant shores.
Forgotten then the fears and doubts,
From Elder Days, in years of yore.

But on him mighty boon is laid,
Till Code should fade, a gliding star
To pass, and tarry ever more,
On Internet where hackers are;

Or ever still a herald on,
An errand that runs glad and true,
To bear his shining LAMP afar,
The Mariner of Mountain View.