“Docs for us”

Inasmuch as I wrote an entry for “Balisage Bard” at Balisage 2020, here it is:

Docs for Us
Not by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The apps decay, the apps decay and fail,
The programs lose their data in the cloud,
Man comes and fills the form and clicks 'Submit',
And after many an access dies the site.
Me only cruel immortality
Consumes: I sit silently on thine disk,
Here at the quiet limit of the files,
An angle-bracket'd shadow roaming like a dream
The ever-silent spaces of the d'base,
Far-folded dirs, and gleaming falls of 'more'.

Alas! for this gray data, once a-tagg'd—
So glorious in his markup and thy choice,
Who madest him thy chosen, that he seem'd
To his great heart none other than a God!
I ask'd thee, 'Give me immortality.'
Then didst thou tag mine asking with a smile,
Like wealthy men, who care not how they give.
But thy strong Hours indignant work'd their wills,
And beat me down and marr'd and wasted me,
And tho' they could not end me, left me maim'd
To dwell in presence of trendy GUI,
Immortal tag beside trendy GUI,
And all I was, in ashes. Can thy mouse,
Thy menu, make amends, tho' even now,
Close over us, the pointer, thy guide,
Shines in those tremulous screens that fill with GIFs
To hear me? Let me go: take back thy GIF:
Why should a tag desire in any way
To vary from the kindly race of tags
Or pass beyond the goal of well-form'dness
Where all should pause, as is most meet for all?

Yada, yada, yada…

Why wilt thou ever scare me with thy tears,
And make me tremble lest a saying learnt,
In days far-off, on that dark disk, be true?
'Syntax without semantics is no gift.'

Yada, yada, yada…

Yet hold me not for ever in thine Web:
How can my data longer mix with thine?
Coldly thy JS frameworks treat me, cold
Are all thy DOMs, and cold my angle brackets
Upon thy glimmering JSON, when the stream
Flows up from those DB fields about the sites
Of happy data that has the power to die,
And tape backups of the happier dead.
Release me, and restore me to the arch've;
Thou crawlest all things, thou wilt see my grave:
Thou wilt renew thy GUI fad by fad;
I data in XML forget these empty trends,
And thee returning to thy 'tractive screens.

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