Berg's Words

Wolves And Walls

Software and the people that make it

In the mist-lost days of yesteryear
The wolf roamed far and wide
Man, woman, and child ticked with fear
For ever the pack lurked nearby

From these fanged marauders did they hide
Or risk with lance or perchance a rock
Yet at each encounter there grew in mind
The certain one-day death of their lot

There arose a cry to build a wall
To keep the beasts at bay
Mighty they built it, strong and tall
And there arose a great hooray

But one held back from joyful thrall
A man both wizened and grey
Two sides, he reasoned, has each wall
One to keep us in while one out to keep they

Despair shed from each and all
Though life still short and fickle
But child begot child inside the wall
These legends ancient and prideful

Over time they found within their fort
That some grew mean and different
Until one thought those wolves comport
Themselves as would befit a dissident

So one brave soul caught up a pup
From out beyond the wall
And with it did he breakfast, nurse, and sup
Till that wolf seemed less scary to all

Then he covered its teeth with caps
And taught it whom to stalk
And my how fearful were those chaps
For who at so fearsome a sight would not balk

More wolves were brought without to in
And the people grew more docile
For throughout the streets marched wolfen kin
Nipping any who grew too hostile

And once again a cheer arose
For who did not revile
The beggars and the outcast egos
Those of weird and different style

And once again one voice was quiet
His ancestor our old wizened friend
One day, he thought, might I get
Too far from normal and who would me defend?

Yet still this man, this derided crackpot
Was ridiculed as the crowd shouted
“What silly a worry, who have you shot
Or which of our just laws have you flouted?”

And on and on and so and so
The wolves yet grew in power
Their number swelled and blow by blow
Over this “protected city” did they tower

And mostly yet, were just their laws
At least to the minds of those left
They expanded their walls and trusting in claws
Were free to get rich and grow heft

So one by one the townspeople consented
To removing the caps from wolves’ teeth
More effective they’d be, the gathered wolves presented
At clearing the worry from the streets

And on and on and so and so
The space in the walls did shrink
As pasture they traded along with meadow
To be safer from that beyond the brink

Faded now their memories gone
Of the world beyond and within
Unsteady they walk under threat of braun
Heads bowed and with nary a grin

For what once was theirs and worth protecting
Now belonged to the wolves that they trained
For what’s worth protecting and yours for safekeeping
Once delegated you’ve lost and never regain