The Old Days

by William R. Mattil

Huge apologies to Edgar Allen Poe

On a night quite unenchanting, starry photons downward slanting,
While I guided, quietly ranting "Periodic Error I Abhor!"
A gust of wind and papers scattered, only the dancing guidestar mattered
stupid backlash! my ego shattered as I paced across the floor
there is nothing I hate more
Hard upon the floor I treaded, angry, resentful as I headed
toward the toolbox that I dreaded opening, over by the door
searching for the tool that mattered, I made sure that nothing clattered,
banged, nor bumped or fell and shattered, the nightime silence out the door
For my neighbors quietly sleeping, being wakened oft before
my activities they did not adore
Dec worm's binding, not freely turning, engineering I am learning,
exact tolerances not withstanding but much better than before
To the eyepiece then I stumbled, under my breath yet I mumbled
confidence completely crumbled "Backlash be gone please" I implore
guidestar kissing crosshair is all I'm longing for
a simple adjustment and nothing more
Open here I tripped the shutter of the Nikon F my bread and butter
loaded with its precious treasure of a film that's made no more
Nervously I peered intently into the eyepiece Oh so gently
whispering a futile plea to all of those who came before
I gamely try to capture photons and resolve the galactic core
only this and nothing more
The nightime rhythm gently soothing frazzled nerves - resolve unmoving,
one hour into this exposure - only minutes more to go
when bychance the quiet's broken, Jet Airliner overhead the token
of my undoing and another ruined picture this I know!
Scrambling like a man possessed to get my Hat in place so it won't show
this could have been the final blow
Hypered emulsion still collecting ancient photons it's detecting
reciprocity neglecting - millions by the score !
to be revealed just like magic barring an event most tragic
defying common sense and logic in D19 solution from the store
let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;--
pin point stars and galactic core!