MAGNETIC FOOTPRINTS

            by J E D CLINE          6/13/84


Shining like a mechanical jewel
The tortured metal and plastic shapes
Were bound unwillingly together
By man and machine. And now, the
Conscripted shapes silently await,
Like a statue frozen, the
Awakening pulse of electric life
To throb in it's copper veins,
Energizing mechanical muscles....
Then, TURN-ON!

A twirling whirl goes to a filmy disk
Of micromagnets, sending them hurtling
Past a special place: a read/write head
With magnetic maw that sometimes
Shouts and sometimes listens
To the concensus of the
Scurrying horde of magnetic domains.

The gaping maw jumps back & forth,
Then lies in wait for the call of
The one it seeks.

Here they come! The earthquake rattle
Of ten thousand dancing domains in a
Chorus line, all spread their energy
To the hungry ferrite eye, then take it
Back again, escaping.

Their rock-&-roll dance is
Patiently watched over,
Then finally the familiar notes
Of the sought sector comes on scene.

The throbbing beat is announced,
And its repeating rhythm forms a
Trellis of time supporting the
Melodious string of data notes.

Stronger now and square, the
Marching line of ones and zeros
Triumphantly emerge as information,
Reborn to live in the halls of
Mankind's busyness.

But there comes a time in the life of bits,
When the world tires of them, and
Prepares to send their progenitive essence
To ferrite crypts. The chosen ones, the
Lucky bits, herd into groups, then file
Courageously singley into the iron maiden.

The ferrite's searching eye,
Having found the assigned shelf
In the filmy store, grabs each
Brave bit in turn, transforming
It in an instant into a torrent

Of current, rushing first one way
Then the other. This river of
Excitement pours through copper swirls,
And their waves of motion stir concerted
Flux in flying ferrite glider.

The flux strikes a barrier!
A gap to be crossed in an
Exhuberant flurry and shout,
And leaves magnetic footprints by
Overturnings in the domains below,
In the filmy land of time's sleep.