SEATTLE, by A.Appleyard
Man the mighty, the master of knowledge,
to America came from many nations
over wide water westward sailing,
the continent crossed, to the coast at last,
beyond great grasslands and granite mountains,
and hardy crossings of hot deserts,
sand and alkali, stone-wastes empty,
but saw the sea beyond snow-passes,
and at Seattle settled, and safe himself thought,
went about business, and bought and sold,
sought pleasure and power, conspired and worked,
the masters of many and those with much burden,
the good and the bad, to each given his place;
but knew they not that beneath their land
was one mightier than Man, although he to command all claims,
the ancient powers which had uplifted
Cascades and Coast Range, upcast aloft
the lands which had lain long in the ocean
or as lonely isles which were long slowly
to the continent carried, crushed against it:
so move the lands, meter a century,
as is stirred the earth by its central heat,
the asthenosphere's slow long creeping,
but known to few but for that name of fear
for San Francisco, "San Andreas Fault",
which had humbled the halls of the haughty and rich
and with fear of fire afflicted the proud,
and burnt the brothels of the "Barbary Coast",
which the law had left through long years,
end at last made of evil dens,
when the Deep Forces, dread and ancient,
disturbed men's plans, and slid the fault.
Now they stirred from sleep, and, constrained within,
Earth broke and bent, which had borne their force
for an endless age. Ancient strata,
rock long resisting, now rent and moved,
not caring for craft and cares of men
on the day now drawn to be doom for Seattle,
solidly on stone built, when would split the rocks.
Songbirds circled, and settle would not,
roosted not readily, as reddened the eve,
loud their alarm cries long after dark came.
Heard was the whole night the howling of dogs,
nor did their dismal dirge with the dawn abate.
The fiercest feared when the fault-line broke
and the earth opened, and like ocean in waves
moved on that morning. Mighty the rumble
as bellow of a bull in the belly of the earth,
on its horns tossing the homes of men.
Buildings were broken, whether brick or stone,
walls shock-weakened, away falling,
on those in them. Others swayed longer,
but in ruin then sank, a road blocking.
Cared-for contents among concrete were strewn
on that joyless day. Like jelly in bowl,
more savage the swaying where soft the ground,
or land went liquid from the long earth-waves:
high halls of firms humbled on ground lay,
their piles pulled up like pines gale-struck
in a wild winter. Wailed street-travellers,
fled every way. Fell many bridges
astride the streets, with their strength undone.
Doomed died at desks and at dock-labour.
City and state rulers were slain together,
both important and petty, their papers among,
as their complex collapsed, comely of stonework,
but built badly: thus was brought this end.
Land uplifted as relieved the strain.
Next the renowned place, the Navy's home,
where the sea-guardians had safely dwelt:
its bed was bared, brought to the daylight,
the sunken silt, to be seen by men
and to stink in the sun. The sea was gone.
How many great ships, mighty in gun-power,
a wonder and dread to the world's nations,
to watch and ward in war and peace,
aloft on land now lay on their sides
in their own anchorage when ended that day!
Command was lost, men without leaders.
Deprived was the profit of the places of money,
of earning and spending: end both had same.
Fires flung from hearths, fuel spurted out,
shaken by shockwaves from their sure constraints.
Bulldings were burning bright on the coast-hills.
Weary firemen water little found,
for the hydrants were dry, all holed were the pipes.
Like floes fractured were the fair roadways.
Crushed was the croupier under concrete and stone;
to the gambler was given a greater loss
than his addiction dire had dared to take.
To the unclean dens the earthquake's might
on whores and their holders a hard fate brought
among broken beams and bent girders
and tangled tatters of tawdry adornments.
Not for gangs, not for greed, did that grim foe halt.
Earth her own judged. Unavailing
men sought for succour from the city's leaders;
they found but fear of those who found the chance
to greed on need, and of goodness had none.
Holders hoarded for hard profit.
Some sought to take, and strife was heard,
grim sound of guns, and greater the dread.
Now hard was the choice that on the heads was placed
of Optimus Prime and the Autobots,
who from their hollow mountain for St. Hilary named,
with haste to help had hurried to the place,
minded merely to move the rubble,
aiding to unbury those who under it lay.
Two hundred miles the Transformers
did drive on that day, past dark forests,
out of Oregon, endless the road seemed,
high over hollow bed with haste they went
of Columbia River in long convoy,
slow on fast loaded, the state leaving,
where since Pliocene times they in peace had slept
till eruption's roar back raised them to life.
And yet further: up Yakima's course,
in hollow valley between high mountains,
to where horse-hauled men the heights had feared,
volcano-crowned, and Snoqualmie Pass;
down from the dark hills to deep-soiled fields,
till the stricken city they could see at last.
Flyers went faster: the first to help,
Skywarp saved man from strewn brickwork
of fallen flats, for since defeat at last
of Megatron's heir, not many weeks passed
till ancient enemy out of the battle was,
and death and damage deemed to be ended,
and their mighty guns but for metalworking,
for welding and cutting, or as when once Jetfire
used his in a hollow where hanging boulders
surely he shot down before shaken on men
aftershock them would have. For them endless work.
News of where need was, none Prime could find.
After fruitless flight to find one in charge,
back turned Buzzsaw from broken office
and crushed complex; only crowds and panic
at the places of power; no purpose to ask
the dead at their desks. First deeds for the living,
after search in vain for the city council.
Men guarded with guns a great food-store,
to profit without pity, or compelled by rules,
that by others' orders they could not open the hoard.
Clearly had commanded di-Castelvetrano:
"They must pay my price, for will compel them need.
I give you guns and good flame-weapons.
And if Army comes - he who orders them,
I will know his name - he will need to beware
as the years lengthen - now use these guns
if warn you once and they won't obey.
Your lives are for little if you let any in
to grab the goods without giving the money.
Even G.I.Joe must join the queue,
and not with rifle-rule readily defy me.".
searched the strewn walls for a sound of voice,
heaved the huge stones when they heard a cry,
so that from under out they could anyone save
from the bricks and beams. Busy were Ratchet
and First-Aider (who their forms can change
to ambulance) and any of the rest
that to treat fleshlings the training had.
Folk pleading approached Prime as he laboured,
amazed and afraid at those mighty ones
who from their home in the hills had hastened thither:
"We feared you in tales; but for a fear greater
than tale become truth, we turn to you now,
if your hard metalwork holds emotions.
Our shops are shut, shattered and fallen.
Came that cunning one,
falsely his followers all food from them gathered,
and guards it with guns, and grim words say
to us people with pleas: that they the price will state,
we must pay full price, or plead our case
of misfortune and need to their flamethrowers.
We appealed to some police - they to be powerless claim.
They need greater guns to gain entry.
Officials fail us, we find them not,
the law is lost, they lack the powers
to seize from store to succour the folk
till to the hall of that hoard hunger drives us
against lead from their loopholes and long flame-blast.".
Then Optimus Prime unlocked wordhoard,
to the people spoke, to their appeal hearkened:
"We hither from our hold in the hollow mountain
to the coast have come to clear the rubble
and to save men's lives, and the law to follow:
but they who guard it are gone, if you give me truth.
From our hidden hill-lair to the homes of men,
to fleshlings a fear from the false stories,
tales of Triple-I, that troublesome office,
to assist as we could, we sought this place.
Decision is hard: if to stay at this task
and allow the law at length to work
and let those grim guardians gain in the meantime,
petty and powerful, many pitiless deeds;
or the power to judge in this place of loss,
the command over men (for which Megatron strove,
arrogant evil, till his end he met),
but which I refused firmly, and my folk also,
on fleshling folk to fasten laws,
I must hold in my hand. Hold back from me
while I to truck transform; then in my trailer mount.
I will drive to the place, let men deem what they will.".
Trembled the gunmen as he transformed back,
as their waking eyes at their warehouse gate
saw the rumoured as real on the road outside.
Huge for hauling, heavy red truck-form,
separated self from his semitrailer.
His long chassis as legs downwards
stood and straightened; from his steel-wrought cab
arms unfolded, out showed his head.
At warehouse windows all weapons were ready.
One railed at him: "Robot alien,
we've tools to trap any truck which comes,
aiming to enter, unpaid to take.
In your trailer you carry those who troubled us before.
Safe in the street now must stay they out.
If you defeat us here, it the finish is not:
the underworld's ire will them ail later.".
Cybertron's leader then spoke at once:
"I your might fear not! I Megatron faced
in fierce fightings in far places.
Iacon I guarded in endless wars,
my home-city for its high dome famed.
For a time returned, I took from the foe,
from their place of power, Polyhex raiding,
city of Straxus,
that savage oppressor.
Blaster slew him on the bridge in war.
Let return Octane to his tanker-job!
Not fierce a foe I found him then.
But the underworld? There is under our feet
one doing worse harm to the world's peoples,
the rocks rending,
and ruin to towns.
Not for your own eating you inside hold
what you looted from shops. Release it now!".
Guards shouted back: "We'll give you nought
but fast-flying lead, and the fire that clings,
like that demonstration that deemed they'd succeed
to move us to pity. So much for their hopes!,
when, our backs burdened with big fuel-tanks,
armed and armoured, we out sallied.
The banner-horde broke; our bullets chased them,
and they from flame-blast fled, when they found to be true
that for what they'd urgently plead, they must amply pay.
Trust we not on teargas, which troubles the eyes,
and away for a while the unwanted flee -
till that crowd recovers and comes again,
so that again and again to us is given same job.
Likewise later, as lengthen the weeks,
bulldozer's blade or the bright fire-jet,
of any sheltering shack will be the sure ending,
if any foolishly trust to find us allowing
them to raise and erect their residence again,
that permission is made by emergency-need,
even on their own sites; or they must owe us the fee -
even if to get the amount to be given permission,
they must sell the sites, then construct, as our tenants....".
No longer leave to be listened to there,
was that greedy one given, the gun-minded.
In went Optimus, over the gate strode,
twenty-five feet tall, as a tree over men,
broke their barrier; bullets like marsh-flies
blood sought in vain: his body them withstood.
Their flamethrower fuel flared upon him,
but harmed him not. Held he his own gun,
broke the barred doors, blasted their hinges,
as in India oft an elephant vast
breaks a granary, belly fills at ease,
nor is stopped by stones nor by stick-wielders,
so hardy its hide against handweapons.
Two holding guns from their high window
he grabbed reaching; he their guardhouse strong
crushed like a carton where was being questioned long
one who to feed family fatal place entered,
free feeding thought he'd find in there;
but for imagined plot they much pressed him,
bound and beaten, bullet awaiting;
for conspiracy-plans he supply could not.
The fight-noises he faintly heard.
Bondage-place burst; from the broken cell
huge hand of iron hauled him to safety.
Interrogator terrified took speed and ran,
a car seeking; but it was kicked over,
to him escape after crimes from its speed came not.
Guards fired and fled, but found them his net,
in hand held and swung, but as huge as by boat
in the high-waved sea would be hauled to fish.
There did Ennano, who was over those guards,
find fate and end, and five with him,
Prime's gun pierced them before they could pull trigger
against captive or crowd. He captured all others,
their courage crumbled, but for cursing and threats:
"This is not Cybertron turf! Seek will vengeance
for against a gang going bearing arms.
Let your weaker kin beware through the years!".
The Army came, who also were there,
to aid as they could; with orders to find
the sound of the shots and that strife to end.
Prime approached them with plea to be told
who had power and law; they replied only:
"There is no-one who knows. None in their office live.
We hurried to help, hard is our labour,
and lives will be lost if we leave off now.
That you sought this city to assist us now,
from your mountain-lair, we are much thankful.
I my regiment rule; to rule a city
I have little longing, I lack that skill.
But give us those gang-men, who grimly threatened:
they will live not long. Leave us to guard here,
we will feed the folk, free and costless,
from the hoard that is here. But who will rule?
One di-Castelvetrano came to our general,
to the army's airstrip - as if he owned the place -
with false papers that he official power had,
and that ordered was all, aid not needed.
Those who hold, are hard: while hither coming,
a tenant we found who but two rooms had,
unshattered of seven. Spared not the landlord
to demand full rent, and for multioccupation
the half again (homeless neighbour
he'd lodged despite loss), or leave at once.
Arrogant owner our aid called for
aginst him who he harshly called in that hateful place
a "troublesome tenant"; told we him otherwise
to him who made woe the worse,
Now to cringe like cur it became his turn:
"Of the houses I let, hundred have fallen,
tenants trapped or gone. Is troubled my finance.
Those who yet occupy must yield what they can...",
so he excusing claimed, but came not to finish:
his reign, by my rifle was run to its end.".
One spoke in the squad of assembled men:
"We fight afar; but to find action
we less are allowed in our land of birth.
We power have none the public to rule.
We found no official to fill and sign
to validate power over civilian folk.
Governer in grave is in his goodly office.
I've seized the stock from six profiteers,
free handed round to folk at need.
But till emergency-rule one makes and calls,
such seizure is risk if seeks one the courts.
And that accursed one who came to our base,
arrogant in airplane, aid turned away,
and lacking is much from his lie in that place.".
Then out to the people Optimus Prime spoke,
Autobot leader over airwaves to men:
"It's true what I'm told, though it troubles me sore
to command over men, over many people,
unasked and unordered by those over this land,
and to leave my lair where I have lived quietly;
but government is gone, and a grim choice is.
I must take the power in this toppled city,
and must rule in the rubble, but I will readily yield
men to men's ruling when remade is control
and gathered again is government of men,
by lengthy selection and election and search,
before the wolf-minded their wickedness glut,
the petty and the great. Already Prowl and Jazz
have seized scrap-men who strove in fight
over scavenging-grounds, scattering the owners,
and Cliffjumper caught five in net
who conspired to demand a scavenging-fee
and their pick each day of property found,
with guns enforced, to grant any right
to open the rubble for his own property
where he had dwelt before: for they deemed him a car,
no trouble to steal; but transforming
he grabbed that gang, gave them to the army.
City and state rulers are stricken or dead;
many police-stations are piled on their men.
Whatever blame you for this: books say that the Greeks
said that the sea-god with spear hit the land,
the undersea slope, or that Enceladus
again seeking escape, has squirmed in his bonds,
that ancient giant under the mountains:
some it 'learned' call to believe such myths.
But this matters not now. Has moved the earth,
and it has ended with me to aid the city.
Now on the bands broadcast, Blaster and Soundwave,
that in Seattle this city I myself now rule,
emergency powers I make at need,
call forth to the folk; and this first I decree:
that of that landlord they named, are lost his estates,
heir will not own it, but all rented
is turned to the tenants. I take the rest,
to find fairer use for what is found to be his.
Earthquakes, orphans - always the same is
in disaster's results. Zeal of diggers oft
out of the infall only children
finds left alive; they will feeding need;
fleshlings' small young need fuel special
for their growth and power than is given to the bigger.
Let a call be made for cows and goats.
Make haste, Huffer, haul a trailer,
bring in barbed wire from the barracks eastwards
to fence that park to confine the beasts,
which will give good milk on its grass feeding,
for those bereft of the breast by the rifting of Earth.
Let food from the farms be fetched direct
to feed the folk - I refuse to wait
while business and handlers debate and haggle.
If hoarders hoard, they will hoard in vain.".
So it soon was: men who sought to repair
at the power-station some parts needed:
called they on the radio. One claimed to know
where some might be, but sought money:
businessmen bargained, but was brought to them loss,
on their hands were left those hoarded parts -
Wheeljack in workshop one made himself,
skill Cybertronian their secret found
and replaced the part, without price charging;
woe-preying wolf's-brood went away empty.
One who had been peril to many from power had gone,
he who had been over the gang against which Optimus fought
at the hoard of food which had been held with guns,
ended was his empire, empty his mansion
of racketeer-rule, but requisitioned
to house homeless even on the hill of the rich;
fled was his fear-ghost, after first and once
himself and sons in swift onset
grimly at gunpoint, their goods keeping
sent out and scattered from that sanctuary of wealth,
earthquake-homeless in there billeted;
over heads were heard hard warning-shots.
"Prime placed us in here!", one appealed in vain,
"for we shelter need before showers chill us
in this evil time ...", but this answer got:
"For robot-rule we reckon nothing!
We now know your names. You nothing will say
to press or police as pass the months.
Seeks one to CB? I'll stop that now!".
Bullet broke the set, its bits scattering
from its owner's hand - but was heard its message.
In defence fast were some factory-men,
angry at ill deed, up to the high place,
the ridge of wealth, and they were ready with weapons,
and called of them one as they came and saw:
"I not Autobot am, up from the docks come
to defend our folk and to find them our goods,
but we'll fight till we fall, and your fortress take.
Law let them in. Leave them in peace now.
You've sucked enough from this city's people
to your luxury-lair. But the law obey!
We not readily break from rubble-shifting,
but we'll stop your deeds, even if you from Sicily come,
heathwolves howling against those hurt already!".
Then battle broke out; bullets were flying;
fastness for firing was found behind walls.
Thug with a flamethrower through window fell
slain to the sidewalk; swiftly evacuees
to take his tanks and the tube that burns
at risk ran out; red was blood seen
on ground of five, but they got his set.
Some factory-men from fixing wood
had turned some tools to the task of war:
laughed foe aloud that they electric drills
were playing with as guns in that place of war,
heavy and harmless however held and aimed!
But their parts within, which power them gave,
were otherwise made; they aimed and triggered,
and oft six-inch nail, sent by power-coils,
swift and spinning went, silent and point-first,
found fated man, after flight sudden.
The fight was hard, fierce the warcries,
foul the curses. Fast to the place came,
running driverless, a racing-car.
It reared as horse, rear turned to legs,
its sides to arms, and seen was its head.
Out took its own gun and aimed at house
which the gang guarded, and gave forth speech:
"In men's language I Mirage am known.
Lead hurts me not. From your lair come forth!".
So they surrendered, and were readily caught;
courage in a corner they came to have little.
Billeted homeless back in hastened,
and got again their goods. Gladly to work back
factory-men went. The affliction of wounds
which had come from the quake now increased by war.
One must run for help. Not with ready memory
Scrounge remembers that sending in haste
in search of aid: he on Cybertron lived,
liege of Blaster, a land-goer,
a wheel was his transform, in the ways rolling
of that world beyond space, till once too oft
he risked to run to read secrets
of the Decepticons. Straxus caught him,
Lord of Polyhex, in power and fear,
unloved slayer. Not long in that place,
Darkmount the dread, endured he then,
but into furnace was flung. Fast but too late
Blaster with six came and saved his message,
but could hold not him. Hard the battle was.
Blaster broke off two big pipelines
which led the melt into moulds to cast.
The searing stuff he sprayed at the foe.
Dirge the dread jet was driven off hurt,
followed rest fleeing. Fight on the spacebridge,
where slew and were slain Decepticons
and Autobots, but off the bridge,
to explode in space, was Straxus pushed,
death after dire deeds. From these dread places
Blaster his six led to bank of a gorge
of Columbia River in the lands of Earth,
to exile-paths on this alien world.
When in the end came the overthrow
of Megatron's heir, that mighty foe,
and ceased the slaying, the Decepticon wars,
back to Polyhex Blaster and Perceptor
to that feared fire-pool to hold funeral went;
they found fragments fused in the spatter there
from the pulled-out pipes, and a piece of Scrounge,
brain unbroken. Back to Earth thence
they this remnant bore with ready gladness
to find a body to fit it in.
In the haste of the time they had no choice:
J.B.Blackrock had just one sort:
Decepticon jets stored in his factory,
a hundred in hoard, yet unharnessed to minds,
still dark and dead, undriven their brains.
Shockwave had made them, but too short his stay
to lead them to life - but that's a longer tale.
They to pilot one put Scrounge's brain,
so all hope beyond he beheld his friends;
but feared to fly, afraid of heights!
Like Starscream shaped, but he strode on earth,
for speed scared him, and he sought not the air.
Nor when on Cybertron the Insecticon
Shrapnel had seized him, to Straxus to fly,
did he find fonder the fast and the high.
But in this emergency time a man knew not,
but asked him for aid: "On an errand go now,
to Fairholm fly, fetch two doctors,
carry them in cockpit, for there is call for them.".
But in his exile on Earth thus answered Scounge,
from Polyhex sundered by space endless:
"It's a weary walk beyond wide mountains
of the National Park known as Olympus...";
but said interrupting the speaker at once:
Walk!? You've wings got, wide yellow deltas,
and blasting jets! Blood of men flows,
there is weakness and wounds. Away you go,
or lives will be lost. Not long is the flight!".
Blaster's follower then back replied:
"No runway is here, from which I can rise slowly,
by footsteps cautious to the feared thing come,
but the sudden swift way. I not Starscream am!
I this body sought not!, to be burdened with wings
and blast-burners, built for the high air,
for the sky-minded. Even its Decepticon badge
none has striven to change. I'd face Straxus again,
preferred to this path where you fondly point!,
that I should pour much fuel into power-hot jets,
blast-packs built in to this body's tall legs,
be suddenly in sky, to see above trees,
and transform aloft, and turn level,
fast above forest-lands, finding no landing
in the tangled trunks and teeth of rocks,
afraid to fly, and afraid to land!
Let me transform on ground, and taxi on roads,
till I to Fairholm come through forest-passes!".
But to obey he had. He blasted aloft,
transformed in air, and turned northwest.
Far fled below and fast the lands,
dry Puget Sound, then dark pinewoods.
The road he'd have ridden ran far below,
like a wire winding. He wished he was on it.
Then high ahead a hoar summit rose
with teeth turned up as if to tear the clouds
and make their rain run forth. He must rise quickly
to miss that peak, Mount Olympus,
which the settlers named when the state was new
for where in Greece was said to be their gods' dwelling.
The land grew lower when he left that place.
He came to the coast - and a cause for dread,
no landing-strip, but to land transforming -
a thing easy for some! He for earth was glad.
When he'd found his freight, he must fly again!,
high over hoar hills and hollow valleys,
to Seattle to return. He saw a time
for level landing, which he liked the more,
if to fly he was forced: found seabed dried
a ready runway. He ran to a stop.
Passengers got out, departed with thanks.
They'd liked the flight. Not so 'd longed for it he!
From the stricken city-hall was saved but one
with power in that place from under piled concrete:
Judge Molotynski enjoyed again
the sight of the sun, but sore wounded.
There Sunstreaker saw where he lay,
heaved a huge slab with his hands readily,
which twenty men would have tried in vain.
The law-wielder he laid on a shelf
which had borne once books in bookcase in wall,
legal and lengthy, but as leaves now strown,
for Scrapper to shovel, so searching men
could reach basement. Ratchet swiftly
his pelvis repaired with plates and screws,
brought him to a building which had borne the shock,
by hard rock upheld, still high standing,
not on soft silt-land which sinks and moves.
In that place did Prime his power set up
over men to command, though he much misgave,
over city and state to be steadiness and rule,
till the law's servants by election and search
could be gathered again. There he gave out law,
and Molotynski much aided him
when men sought decisions when from swaying of Earth
the land was lacking lawful rulers.
No pleasure in that place got one profit seeking,
the first before him at fault to be known
for holding a hoard for hard bargain,
much that was needed by the many wounded;
but, stripped of stock, seized were his premises,
with distributed free his source of gain,
regretting his greed, he to go was told
wherever he wished away from the city.
Next came to him one claiming to aid
in matters with money, with many followers,
for a fee ample to afford advice,
from Portland coming, but reply they got:
"With Scrapper go now, south to Tacoma,
lay rocks for a road where ran the sea,
where the drained tide-bed dries in the sunlight,
to the Isle of Vashon, where of old was the ferry.
As your foreman, him follow: he the form can take
of earth-mover, to aid you at work.
He can carry in his cab whoever comes to him first;
in his scooping-shovel must sit the rest.
You've engagements other? My ears ignore.
You hastened to help - I hand you a job,
and after that others till is ended this woe.
Go, Laserbeak, get overalls,
which need they will, and enough hand-tools,
fly to find them; then further go,
next to bring back needed rare blood
from Vancouver: I'll give vision of a map,
let the airwaves go to your eyes' brain-part,
so you read it as real and reach the place.
Why can't fleshlings' fluids be of fashion all one?
A, B, and Rhesus, and others at times.
But quickly fly, for is call for speed.
They could have four times used what I've found of blood.".
Before him next in that fateful time
came the cold one, di-Castelvetrano,
mighty in the Mafia, by men feared,
handcuffed and humbled, with his hopes ended,
and his three sons too, in thuggery skilled,
also as evil. To them Optimus spoke:
"What you started, now finish! for the State Complex
was built badly to be brought to ruin
by the earthquake's ire with those who in it were,
by your corruptings and wrongs.
Readily its builders
would have rightly it reared, but to run their craft,
you them left not alone. Leave off hope now
to adjourn and adjourn and enjoy ill-gain
as on bank of creek basking crocodile
with a man in its stomach, mocking those watching
with its greedy grin. As when at the great earthquake
in your own country early this century,
Messina the city in Sicily's east
in ruin was strown, Russian navy-men
in the time of the Tsars by the turn of chance
to be there, then said, thus I now say:
as one of those sea-officers (who in my same position
without leave of law, but allowed no choice,
were the only guard in that evil time
against the gangs who grasped their chance,
determined attempt to take the streets,
for those who ruled rightly in the rubble were dead),
there said to robbers by him seized at their wrong,
in the only words apt and by him
of your language known: Ladro, Condennato, Morte:
"thief, condemned, death", as you deemed to many
for only defending their own property.
To sate yourselves you have slain too many.".
So their time ended, and he took their goods,
gave to the relief-fund. Nor was given a need
to rejoice in that place to the Genoveses,
known and noted, a name of crime,
who had sought to seize the sources of wealth,
nor their leige-followers, but "Load, Aim, Fire!",
and came they never to the coffins ornate,
sumptuous obsequies, assumed as their right.
O city Seattle! shattered were your buildings,
your roads rifted, ruin heaped about,
and their own offices were the end and doom
of your givers of law and government men
and civil-servants! Saw the Navy
westwards and northwards like whales stranded
their ships ashore, shimmer of mirages,
dust-devils' dance-floor, the dry hollow
of Puget Sound. Departed the sea,
northward shrunken, with new rocks strewn,
which the deep once hid. Danger not ended.
Mains were broken, men lacked water
to fight the fires which flared about.
and an eager wind
a sufficient cause were. Over four blocks lay
a skyscraper on its side fallen
as axe-hewn oak which under its bulk
has broken the bushes. Badly was it founded,
shock shook it loose. Machines of men
and Autobots each together worked
to clear the streets, keep supplied stores.
Northwards and needed, a new harbour
they laboured to build for the landing of ships,
and for the fishing-fleet too, so that food for men
could be fetched from the sea. Frowns above them
Prowl's Head of granite, pushed by the earth-heave,
once sunk in the shallows, now a sunlit isle:
face and brow-crescent found in its chance-shape.
The seaweed stank in the sun and rain;
south-wind sand-stung from what was sunken no more.
The dry-dwellers on the deep-bed walked.
What had been for skindivers was now seen by all,
nor in what had unseen been did they aqualung need,
but the hidden hollows had been heaved to the air.
Reef-fangs became a road for wheels,
granite was broken by Grapple's blasting,
shattered were shark's-teeth of schist ancient
by that mighty weapon which was Megatron's once,
onset's spear-point against Autobots
in battle harmful; now it a better use had.
Round hollows in the rocks they heaped up quays,
they squared and set the split boulders,
dock-walls building round deep basins,
so that trucks from ships could take cargo.
Aftershocks endless, from each more work
and risk in the rubble. A remnant of wall
forced men to flee, filled their digging-hole
when a rescue was near. Readier many were
with words than with work, away going
when shown a shovel, who were not short with praise.
From wide water, western ocean,
endless in came the unwelcome,
rainclouds riding, upraised by hills,
whose cloud-capped tops called down the torrents,
and soaked those who strove to save the trapped.
The downpour drummed under darkened skies
on the metal casings of those mighty ones.
Everything often to the eyes briefly
was by lightning shown as by laser-shot
by the west wind's hands wielded in onslaught
as it sought to storm the strong fort-wall
of the wide mountains which all wet shut out
from the dreaded death-lands, the deserts beyond,
which the gold-seekers oft grim had found.
The thunder echoed. But it no through way found,
but the water was wasted of that watercannon
which is *Zephyros's weapon, on resistant defence,
[* = the west wind]
piled-up pine-range and peaks of granite,
full rivers filling more. Floods were warned of.
Blaster broadcast: "Back from rivers go,
you who abide by their banks. Bring to a high place
your beasts and flocks.".
But to the bitter places,
dry dust-hollows, dwelling of whirlwinds,
east of the ranges, to Arizona,
and Nevada the barren (where Las Vegas is built,
that home of harm, hateful to the rightful,
land-waste, mind-waste, living off much woe,
greeding from gambling, that grim addiction,
ever since men sought to corrupt that state's rulers),
of that wet no whit ever went in that time,
and of the west wind's weapon, that water-pump,
only its dirty exhaust, the drying sand-wind,
to the drought-dwellers came and dried the lands,
for that air became arid in the endless descent
from the peaks to the plains, and no profit it brought
of welcome wet, but on those who wanted it not
did not cease to stream in the city coastal,
wet on the wet lands who had water enough,
to be no joy to . Then must Jetfire,
where were families found in flats collapsed,
to plane transform and place himself
as roof to the hole against rain and wind
as a hen over chicks, where men hunted and sought
to extract the trapped, take them to shelter,
before life them left. No love felt men
for the weather-maker, till its well-thanked end,
when that onset ceased, and the storm faded,
and sun on the sixth day was seen at last.
Not over-soon came Optimus thither
before greedy gangs would have grasped power,
fair false face showing to Federal-men
when they come when they can, and di-Castelvetrano
establish in city unseemly throne
from the people's plight to profit at will;
but for their unright acts his end he met,
self and servants and successors to his name.
Ever hard at the hunt were the hounds within
that sought and pursued the Decepticons
after from their minds was removed Megatron's constraints,
the reprogramming towards wrong and harm.
Guilt ever they felt, what the Greeks of old
had the Furies called, the fierce Erinyes,
of their prey deprived since Pliocene times;
now no longer, but nigh on the trail,
as with Orestes of old. No rest for them,
- nor Apollo they found, to compel them to cease,
as Euripedes wrote, but, resting in dream,
Starscream and Shockwave swift ever had to flee
from a hunting horde hasty in onset
of those they'd slain through the years on Cybertron
since Megatron turned to the madness of war.
Thus in a dream of dread Dirge assailed was
by avenging host vigorous in onrush,
nor by fleeing nor fight could find he rest;
and Scrounge led them, still in his old form,
a wheel rolling; but waking yet
he heard his voice, but beheld standing
a yellow F15. "That form you take
in your long harrying to hallucinate
my waking world as well as my dream!?
But get you gone, ghost Polyhexian,
on this earth now shown. Into your lair go!
For I know you exist not!". But next the truth
to assail him came, and he saw that was real
and found again someone far away lost,
for crimes uncovered an accuser returned.
That huge mansion on the hill of the rich,
where the dread one dwelt, deemed was for a better use,
for orphans of quake, for Optimus Prime
for the city it seized, whatever say might one
to be owner's heir; also others around,
where his followers lived. They found had been all,
end after evil when those arrogant ones
had planned for profit, and no pity to have:
di-Castellammare from whom never came mercy,
(who "the Demon Drink" in dread had been known),
and their follower-pack: their fate to them came,
leave had no longer to lengthen the trial,
but emergency-laws made an ending
of all members of unloved gang:
a destructor them swallowed, after squad had fired.
Their power was gone. In that place remained
of them nought but the name the next morning:
"Fort of Veteran" one it found to be named,
having sorted the speech Cybertronian
which was drawn by the door. Deed of habit-use,
fearing confusions in the fast events
if it named was anew; but not for long,
for as "Kup's Castle" it came to be known,
when Prime there him placed to plan for the orphans
requirements and care as the chaos sorted.
On Cybertron he had striven of old
in fierce fightings, till found he Earth.
Of battle he'd had fill. As a blue pickup
he arrived on the ridge with his rear burdened.
There he to unload came. Orphans surrounded,
and were eager for tales of his old conflicts.
But he said to them there as they stared at him:
"That strife has ceased, the Decepticon times
on Cybertron, and where escape from war
we guessed to find beyond the gulf of space,
but we found we'd fetched our foes with us
and to fair Nebulos fire and harm brought,
so we fled to Earth - and our foes with us.
I am weary of war. There is work for us here.
Take these goods in, so I transform can.
I may tell later some tale of my folk.".
When were stored the supplies, he stood on his rear,
arms unfolded from under his front,
cab cast backwards, disclosing his head.
So on the ridge of the rich he ruled in that place,
and told them tales when returned evening
and was sunken the sun and the city was dark.