Four billion IP addresses strung along the wire,
and more strained at a NAT, to which you cannot route;
four billion chattering chimps, plus lemurs, macacques, vervets,
trying to construct Shakespeare, packet by packet,
a teller for the tale of Humanity become whole.
Four billion's a teardrop. Oceans more must go live.

Can a new protocol replace that where so many now live?
Perhaps the links of history will bind us, barbed wire.
To leap that fence, we must step as one -- the whole
world, who cannot even agree upon the route.
Or squeeze through alone, and you turn, and see the packed
cage of humanity, shouting at you voiceless as a vole.

Words flit the links, bounding like vicuna
on a ridge. Below them, protocols stack down into living
rock, stone on world-bone; invisible to the running pack. It
all must operate without flaw. But humans built this world, we're
well aware, and we see our faults in every route.
Errors are settling dust, accumulating in the whole.

Worse than error, the curious pry into every hole,
prying cracks wide, innocent and deadly as a viper
or malicious as a human. The cage of cards falls into rout.
The lost bit can be found, the dead node linked to the live;
but an ill-wish can untwist any frame we wire
together -- or puff it down in a blowing storm of packets.

A more human hand builds redundancy; flexibility; a packet
of defenses and a sketch of recovery; a handful who'll
sit and build and plan again to learn. A strand of wire
spans the few who care to speak -- who outnumber the vultures
millions, billions, galaxies to one. Even to dam the living
stream is just another message. So let the word pour out.

But protocol specifies precision, not knowledge. The route
leads to an ear or eye, never to a human. Every packet
may strike home, and leave the meaning behind; and true to life
is not the truth. All our rules may frame a hole,
or the mirror in which you can't see a vampire.
And each of us hides behind a message, thin as wire.

No live moose (though moose don't start with V)
can push himself in whole along a wire;
the human packets bind too bright to route.

-- July 29, 2007.

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