The Raving

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The Raving
by Erik Johnson
Annotated by Erik Johnson
Apologies to Edgar Allen Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I wandered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious homepage that was quite a bore,
While I scrolled on, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at the helpdesk door.
"'Tis some darn user," I muttered, "tapping at the helpdesk door-
Only this, and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the sweet September,
And each separate dying ember of my life fell onto the floor.
Eagerly I read the files;- vainly I had sought the smiles
From my archived Neko piles- files I could not restore-
For the rare and virulant files whom Norton could not restore-
Nameless here for evermore.

And the beeping terminals rusting of each river cluster
Thrilled me- filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
"'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my helpdesk door-
Some unlucky visitor entreating entrance at the helpdesk door;-
This it is, and nothing more."

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Hey," said I, "listen, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was irc'ing, and the hour you must be seeing,
So precludes you from so being, being in this helpdesk door,
We open up at eight to-morrow"- here I opened wide the door;-
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness looking, long I stood there wondering, shooking,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no users ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unheeding, and vend-o-land I was needing,
And I headed down the hallway towards the faithful elevator
Then I whispered, and an echo murmured in the elevator-
Merely this, and nothing more.

Upwards to the third floor shooting, away from Academic Computing,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat coming from the second floor.
"Surely," said I, "surely that is some janitor or watchman:
Let me see, then, what the threat is, and this mystery explore-
Let my heart be still a moment and I'll open the metal door;-
'Tis some guard and nothing more."

Here I stabbed the open button, when, with the hunger of a glutton,
In there lept a wolfish Brian whose clothing he had tore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute time delayed he;
But, with mien of dogs with rabies, jumped and knocked me to the floor-
Perched upon my bust he crouched pinning me to the tile floor-
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony hound beguiling his hunger into smiling,
By the lean and hunger visage of the countenance he wore.
"Though thy hair not shorn nor shaven, thou," I said, "art surely weighin'
Very heavy just between your paws and this cold floor-
Tell me why thy twisted brain has fell me, I implore!"
Quoth the Brian, "No."

Much I marvelled this ungainly beast forsaking so plainly,
The rhyming structure I'd been keening- little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no *living* human being
Ever yet was blest with seething Brian pinning him to the floor-
Bird or beast is seldom found in this North Hall elevator,
With such name as "No."

But the Brian, sitting smilin' on my sunken bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered- not a furball then he fluttered-
Till I scarcely more than muttered, "other friends have pounced before-
In a minute he will leave me, and I can get off this floor."
Then Brian said, "No."

Startled at the utter tokin' of a word of such discord spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters nibbles at the core,
Of an evening so methodic that I've spoken so melodic
Followed fast and followed faster till his words one burden bore-
Till the dirges of his weight that melancholy burden bore
Of 'No'."

But the Brian still beguiling all his fury into smiling,
Straight I pushed a button in hopes of catching his tail in the door;
Then upon the cabin sinking, I betook myself to linking
Hands unto neck, thinking what this ominous wolf of yore-
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous wolf of yore
Meant in holding me to the floor.

Thus we sat engaged in fighting, Brian's jaws were surely biting
Into the arm whose bleeding now increasing more and more;
This and more when I was sighting, the switch with which I flipped unlighting
Thus the darkness fell, thus hiding the lamplight the gloated o'er,
But whose blackness I was hiding with no lamplight gloating o'er,
Light that glowed not anymore!

Then methought the air grew colder, I feared I would not grow any older
Unless I could escape here another victory he would score.
"Wretch," I cried, "thy games hath bent thee- by this full moon sent thee
The night- the night and Ripsig, your clothing hath they tore!
Take off, oh take off, be kind this eve and forget I changed Decoré"!"
Quoth the Brian, "No."

"Brian!" said I, "thing of evil!- Brian still, if wolf or devil!-
Whether heaven bent,or whether hell hath cast thee leaping through the door,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this my chest you sat and flaunted
Your superior guile unwanted- tell me truly, I implore-
Is there- is there and chance you'll spare me- tell me, I implore!"
Quoth the Brian, "No."

"Brian!" said I, "thing of evil- Brian still, if wolf or devil!
By that roof that bends above us- by that shaft below the floor-
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if I'll reach the morrow aidin',
in my duty to help the users in Brown Lab, room one five four-
Oh, I guess I got that wrong- please switch the numbers in error."
Quoth the Brian, "No."

"Be that word our sign in parting, wolf or fiend," I shrieked, upstarting-
"Get thee back into the darkness and that duty is your chore!
Leave no blood stain as a token of my skin that you have broken!
Leave my throat unchoken!- get out of the elevator!
Take thy claw from out my heart, and take thy body out that door!"
Quoth the Brian, "No."

And the Brian, not yet pouncing, still is sitting, still is sitting
As my PowerBook batteries drain the backlight of my moni-tor;
And his eyes have all the steaming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the backlight o'er him keeps him from turning my body into gore;
And in the light failing I'll be saving this message into lore
Shall be opened?- I don't think so...