My manlike form is made of steel, and twenty-five feet tall;
I, folding, artic-cab become, men's mighty loads to haul.
Is huge my strength of body and mind, and nought should me distress,
but oft in times of loneliness come sorrows, nonetheless,
for when I dream, or think my past, I friends and places know
which I can never return to, nor can anyone ever there go.

A firm designed Transformer-toys, and gave to each its name
and chose its personality, for children playing game;
then authors wrote us stories in which move we huge in th'world,
and every issue out yet more our mighty deeds unfurled,
events imaginary seen through screen and paper page
where reached I Earth with blast of jets in flight from enemy's rage
with score of faithful followers, and great our store of kit,
and slept we till eruption woke us, after Earth we hit.
And then was battle heard again - of that wrote men the tale -
but if you seek on Earth the signs of those events, you fail.

James lived alone; like many, he would seek in books a friend.
That comforted him for a while, till came to that its end
when seeing much of me on page 'd reserved a place for me
to know me, same as if I was real, in his brain-circuitry -
which place then knew he empty, and he felt the lack of me!
for while I moved upon the screen, to him a friend I'd be;
but when the film came to its end, like ghosts we vanished all.
He had my model, stood on shelf, six inches standing tall -
but doll in form of lost one comfort not is to th' bereaved.
Such happens oft enough to folk, and after they have grieved,
that 'gain the tiny thickness of the surface of the page
or screen from those friends shuts them off, even if they wait an age
of endless yearning that some sort of Land Beyond they'd find
in which exist they as in tales, full-sized, with voice and mind,
the fiction-heroes of some one of th'endless many worlds
which authors have invented as the ages have unfurled,
some animal, some human, and some alien - long the list -
but when the reader needs return to th'real world, they are missed;
they little can do; some write to them, the post comes back "Not Known";
or pets or children name for them, till dulled the pain has grown;
and meeting actor dressed as fiction-hero's not the same
as meeting in reality would be, instead of game.
At times he'd stories write for himself, and make us live again,
but faded every one of us when he put down the pen.
"Nowhere in th' endless empty world is Optimus the tall!
No track of foot or wheel of his can anywhere at all
with weary search be found, " said he, "nor little Bumblebee,
nor any others of that tribe I ever will hear or see!
I've bought a toy or two of them, for curiosity
to find how they transform, and such; that's not the same to me!
They walk my dreams, I ride in them, they flee when I awake -
I'd hundred swop such Jetfire-flights for one in truth to take!".
Thus many have yearned for th' mythical, or real which dwells afar,
with nought to do but wait for fading 'f hope's misleading star.

'Twas so from ancient times: from nightly star-shapes rising high
the Greeks imagined heroes shown, when clear the autumn sky:-
"King Cepheus and Cassiopeia his queen sit side by side"
they said, "she bright, he faint, they circle, nor 'neath Earth they hide,
but reign aloft as once they reigned in Jaffa Canaanite;
upon her throne of majesty five stars unfailing bright.
By her, her daught'r Andromeda as if in chains outspread,
for boasted they'd her fairer than the goddesses of dread,
who ordered her t'be sacrificed, and quake and monster sent;
but Perseus slew the monster when the gods his path there bent
while bearing home the Gorgon's head. He took her for his spouse,
and from her womb came th'ancestry of many a noble house.".
These four, also the monster's form, men saw them all in sky
in autumn evenings storytelling. Two more star-signs are by:-
"The Gorgon's blood that dripped in sea became the mighty Horse,
which later was Bellerophon's steed against the Chimaera's force.
Nearby, two fish by Dictys caught, who fostered Perseus
when blown by wave from Argos town to rocky Seriphos.".
Some for them children named, or them as ancestors would claim,
or else as paintings or as statues seen their forms became.
But like all that is fictional, and like all bygone real,
their shapes from minds' eyes vanished all, a loss which none could heal,
when left the storyteller, and dawn brought common daily work,
nor ever to hear their voice or see them walk, a hope could lurk.

But my brain's a computer, and computers can be made!
and well he knew computers, and his hope it did not fade,
for sentient computers now were near to being real.
His loss and wanting me, much greater now were for him to feel;
he saved and bought materials, and, making no more fuss,
he, sentient computer making, called it Optimus.
He endless laboured day and night, nor ever a rest-day took,
but in the end it spoke with him; he never his hope forsook,
but called to me as drove I in the long roads of his mind,
the only land where I or my folk were for him to find:
"But how to make it really you, and not just with your name?
I'll copy into it from th' books your mighty deeds of fame,
Defender of Iacon, and give it your memories
- as well as all that I can get at of the sciences
and suchlike practicalities - you'll live in truth and talk,
and when I've made your body, you will drive, transform, and walk.
And also all your followers' deeds and personalities
I'll tell you of, and all that of your fiction-world there is.".

With labours long he made my body, such as I bore in tale,
and not to find full skill and craft did ever he come to fail.
Installed he my brain into it, and, red, three storeys high,
I stood beside him in his yard - at last he had me nigh!
"Not actor, toy, screen, page, or dream: you're real, my Optimus!"
he cried, and tried to hug my leg, "There's work for both of us!
My name's not Sparkplug, nor my blood from Witowice* is
on Poland's plains, but from now we can share our memories.".

But what of me? The fiction-past he'd copied into me,
for all I knew, was truth, of Ark and Mount St. Hilary,
how Buster in his brain had stored th' Creation Matrix safe
so Shockwave couldn't make with it a horde the lands to strafe,
and Ratchet dared his greatest risk and threw down Megatron
who walked not 'gain to trouble us till many months were gone,
and deeds with sorts of guns which all know never can be designed,
and score of faithful friends which by some means I had to find.
He'd soothed his loss, and made me real, no more bereft to be
to scan the trucks on traffic-roads and know that none was me.
He rode in me to haul a load for men to pay the bills,
and, reaching destination-site beyond the houseless hills
and empty heather-wilderness no bit like Cybertron
or Oregon - my flatbed-tow had big transformer on -
by th'other meaning of the word, device to change the volts
of mains-supply - a boy called out when came I to my halt
"Look Daddy, there is real among us Optimus the Prime!".
"You silly ass, it's just a truck." his father said that time,
"It's only painted like him!" - then unhitched I and transformed!
I helped the crane-man move my load to where its bed was formed,
as easily with docker with crate at some long-famous port;
I barred and chocked and lifted, as to square it up I sought.
Thus many people knew me real - but now was loss to !
I ambulances passed on th'roads - could one Ratchet be?
A man nearby a Porsche had - 'twas not Cliffjumper or Jazz.
The yellow truck-crane that unloaded me, not Grapple was.
No answering word direct or radioed by Prowl was voiced,
and not could next-door's towtruck ever answer me as Hoist.
James gained his friend, I'd twenty lost - he'd copied too faithfully,
to be my past, that make-believe into my memory,
to wrench it somehow from the other side of th' screen to his,
and done to me what he'd endured - left unreal memories!
In dream my followers surround me in the mighty Ark:
I see and talk with them, then wake - and empty is the dark
in exile-home while fleshlings sleep, and distant barks a dog,
and Tabbins lurks between my wheels for mice as falls the fog,
as feared as Ravage in his world, which smaller is than Man's
as Man's is smaller than my unavailing-hoped-for lands.
Night-constellations mocked me too, when duties out me call:
my faithful second-in-command, I saw you standing tall,
Prowl's form in stars, which men "Ophiuchus holding Serpens" name.
Each night across the south in summer you passed, but never you came
to me in waking life as living steel and mind in wire.
Bright red Antares showed your leftward foot, too great its fire
for midmonth-glaring moon to hide when nightlong made lament
nextdoor's 2 guard-dogs neath the sky from which your paths never bent,
nor Grapple's, as whose form I springtime-southward Virgo knew
when first I saw the real world's light. The months brought others too:
'Bove autumn Pegasus is Wheeljack as Andromeda,
too well enstarred, with arms and legs and chest-parabola.
When nights are shortest, briefly low in south my Hoist is known:
how scarcely clear of distant hills his forward wheels are shown!
In th' bleak and thankless solstice-time, when men make greedy feast,
the start of ice-risk underwheel, and sunlight is the least,
I gave toys to a children's-home, in search to gain happiness
by making happy - they marvelled, and called out "It's Optimus!
We saw your fight by Sherman Dam when Megatron made you swim,
but Hound and Spike each saved the other..." - it hurt me telling him
that 'twas just tale of men - his words brought memory back to mind
as if I'd lived it yesterday - I must put that behind!
I kept a mask of jollity, and acted Santa Claus;
but back as truck-cab driving home, my grief it had no pause,
and came back visions of all my old companions with might,
for, cold and still away from towns, the stars were clear and bright,
and Jazz and Mirage and Skids and Gears adorned the southward sky,
bright-central Huffer with gun in belt, and Blades and Starscream high
- although men name them otherwise - "Enough, enough, that's all!
You, Dog Star, cease your teasing wink in mock of Ratchet tall!
Let Canis Major howl the moon in Ram or Bull or Twin!
As James made me, so I'll make Ratchet, and for real him win!

{Prowl=Ophiuchus+Serpens, Grapple=Virgo+Coma Berenices, Wheeljack=Lacerta+greater part of Andromeda, Starscream=Perseus, Blades=Auriga, azz=Aries+Taurus, Mirage=Gemini, Skids=Lepus, Gears=Canis Minor+Monoceros, Huffer=Orion, Ratchet=Canis Major, Hoist=bright part of Sagittarius}

I made my loved repairer skilled, I made him bit by bit,
as southward-briefly-peeping sun warmed me and men no whit,
as 'cross cold Sagittarius it ground its weary trail.
An Autobot has thousand parts, and none of then must fail.
The blizzards came down from the north, and ice was on the sea.
Across-the-road-man's sheep sought warm with us - we let that be -
as they and man and robot sheltered from the clawing blast.
"Oh how much ever longer will this hateful weather last?
Forget the ancient histories, and cities of Cybertron!
A fleshling made me, me alone, let other ideas begone!
I fiddle with chips and circuits in the snow which gets through cracks
to recreate a ghost of one who all existence lacks!?".
but: "Ratchet lived, he'll live again!" - another voice gained the vote,
and ere the coldly-crawling sun had reached the head of *Goat,
my pile of pieces shrank, and head to waist he was entire,
but hips and legs were lacking, and, my longing like a fire,
I matrixed him to life that day, like I'd remembered him.
Sometimes at night I'd fancied Ravage as the clouds would skim -
just Leo. I'd've even Decepticon have welcomed like a son!
But then at last of Autobots existed more than one.

As I had feared, he thought that tale was real when spoke he first:
"Why am I half, and where? Attacked Decepts or Men, or worst,
this sheltering Mount St.Hilary has burst a second time,
blown everything to bits, and only us two out could climb?".
I told him truth, and James confirmed, and hard it was to hear.
We had each other, but both of us now wanted others near,
for with his personality had passed his knowledge of friends
into his mind: James made me thus, 'twas him that planned these ends.
As passed a month, I finished him; he helped me as he could.
The sheep kept getting in the way. As oft in tales he would,
he transformed into ambulance, first in reality,
out drove to see the white-out, but back in came quick to me.
He serviced me; I left to truck, for bills still need to be paid.
I lonely hauled 'cross snowbound land as winter did not fade,
and only fleshling James in cab gave answer ever to me;
men sent me twice from frozen ports ere found I open sea.
From Test and Itchen's icebound width and silent liner-docks
I turned away, still through the white to haul my trailer-box,
as ground the pack against the cliffs as west I had to go.
Too heavy was I to Ventnor* drive the road across the floe.
{*on Isle of Wight}
At least I could transform and stand to shovel through the drifts.
I found Lyme Regis open, but no-one my load to lift
to deck of ship, but I must wade from beach to place it in.
The sailors gaped. Now let the long cold journey back begin.
These trips to pay for stuff eat time! Can't G.B.Blackrock pay?
Forget! I'm sorry! That's in the tales! Another friend gone away!
I came back to "Iacon", for thus Ratchet named our place.
"Behold Bonecrusher Constructicon!" cried James, now back in base -
Ha ha. 'Twas Ratchet 'dozing snow with snowplough made from scrap,
so men could reach the sheep with feed - well thanked, now he'd made gap.
I'd made myself some laser-guns, much weaker than in tale,
and not with mighty blasting power, but one task they not fail:
he put on stands, with power turned low, and set to beam-dispersed
to warm and dry the lambs arriving, though the weather be worst.
"Such jobs you humans' guns do not, but only hurt or kill!
and not in human heroes' guns to cut or weld's the will.".
We Wheeljack made amidst the snow, my faithful engineer.
I matrixed him when Sun in Fishes was, and April near.
The Sun rose; date was April Fool, but we'd no will to jest;
of snow on snow on snow on snow the land sore needed rest.
Said James: "Some say: the Ice Ages did thus the lands enfleece:
a normal coolish summer, then the winter failed to cease!".

Came "Bracknell's men's Decepticons", the clouds that herald snow,
again a time, and higher yet the winds the drifts did blow
upon the land, and dusted 'cross the frozen Solent's waste,
and dryshod-walkers on the sheathed shiproads to shelter haste.
From Calais some to Dover walked, a fear to men to be
that English frost could ever bridge with ice so wide a sea.
A year later, and we could have given men much aid
with numbers grown; but we were three, to wait till cold would fade.
But came next day deliverance prayed-for, breath of the Azores,
turned snow to rain, the wind was warm: "There'll floods be when this thaws!".
We heard a crash - an accident - a tripper'd overturned
on remnant ice, and Ratchet first from men the right then earned
to look like ambulance - he got her out and sped away
and driverless reached hospital; he first got thanks that day
for aid to fleshling folk who dwell about; then home returned.
Then spoke forth Wheeljack, for whose skill I long with need had yearned
- in memory skill of Cybertron, in truth all skill that James
could into me from libraries read ere ever to life I came -
for he had programmed me to read much faster than a man -
and all 'bout maintenance and engines that get hold he can -
"We'll need a flyer next time this happens, to fly above the flood,
to scan the land, and urgently bear medicines and blood.
O Jetfire, Aerialbots, and Blades, I see your forms in sky,
as stars, not real, when clear's the night; in memory fly you high!
You've flown away and won't return! Like ghosts fled all of you!
Alas our common heritage of memories untrue!
That Jetfire following Silverbolt along the Milky Way
would leave the summer-night sky and come down to the earth and day!
Leave, Aerialbots, your break-display which men as Pisces know
in autumns rising high: I need you on the earth below!".

{Jetfire=Cygnus, Silverbolt=Aquila+Scutum, Fireflight=Triangulum, Skydive+Slingshot=N+W ends of Pisces, Air Raid=a bit of Andromeda} {UK weather forecasting centre is at Bracknell}

Then to my little band of two I answering did speak:
"There's only one we can afford to fly - that's Laserbeak!
His loyalties I can manage to change so he's an Autobot;
to fuel a plane we can't afford, for wealthy we are not.
He'll fold up and become a slab to store himself away,
but shrink not to become cassette - no metal acts that way.
There's much that I rely on that I'll never see again.
I'm bound by th'laws of Nature absolutely as are men.
When we much more and richer are, I'll make a plane or two.
I miss them all, and dream of them at night. What think now you?".
They both agreed, and he was made; but peace in brain he'd not
'tween memories Decepticon and loyalties Autobot!
"I feared our leader's fusion-cannon, and him to obey had need."
consoling he'd excuse himself, "I Megatron had to heed!
Oft Thundercracker thought to stray, but knew that 'gainst him sent
would others of us be, if started he in ranks dissent.
The most of us he wished at times he'd stayed an Autobot,
for not as much as th'rest he's programmed to hate no matter what.
It hurts me sore, remembering, now you have brought me here,
the death and waste that I was in: the fangs of guilt are near!".
So spoke the first Decepticon to see reality,
sore mind-shocked by the loyalty-change which I'd felt forced must be.

To us he's proved reliable, nor yet to bad has turned;
and then before men's Whitsun I made two for who I'd yearned,
I put life into Jazz and Hoist, and later Huffer and Prowl
before the longest day of th' year - still next-door's guard-dogs yowl
when I transform at night - the curs in 6 months hadn't learned
that dwell we here - but of my folk to have still more I yearned.
Why had that James to make my mind with all these torn-out holes
as if old friends were wrenched away, loss smouldering like coals?
I'd Jazz my agent with me now, and Hoist of maintenance,
and grumbling Huffer engineer who talks across the fence
with also-grumbling neighbour finding fault with weather and such,
and Prowl my second-in-command; but still old names called much.

They endlessly invade my dreams; I wake and know they're gone;
and all too oft these sleep-events are back on Cybertron!
O land of Polyhex, Celestial Spires, Iacon's dome!
O once again to walk there in my ancient lands of home!
to memories renew which through long exile-years fade,
to see old friends - if they still live - in th' city where I was made,
to overthrow th' Decepticons, and bring the strife to end,
and then with mighty labours all the harms of war to mend!
Beyond the mighty gulf of space, old Xaaron rules his folk
in hidden ruined basements, waiting till the rule is broke
of whoever rules in Darkmount now that Straxus has been slain -
a mighty deed of Blaster's, who ill welcome had from men.
O Cybertron! Remember I you as before the strife,
when twin suns Alpha Centauri gave energy of life,
where tall and fair the cities were, before rose Megatron.
For long time few of us would heed the name "Decepticon" -
we learned too late, when battle awoke and death the lands soon filled,
and wasteful war consuming swiftly what took long to build,
till, forced to seek our fate off-world, they followed us even there,
till we at length impacted through this alien planet's air.
The Great Ice passed above our heads but couldn't break our sleep.
Decepticon and Autobot the ages long did keep,
the broken bodies of our ancient Cybertronian shapes,
till waking th'Ark remade us Earth-style when drone'd shot new tapes.
From Pliocene through Pleistocene the Mountain'd kept its hoard.
But all that mighty tale is gone, and I can not afford
to waste time brooding on it, for there is no Cybertron.
A few years I have lived, and I was never in Oregon.

There's also nightly Bo-otes, swift-rising, high till dawn,
too well, complete with fusion-cannon, starred like Megatron,
ev'n as world's wrongs are everywhere, but must the good be sought.
But James said once: "Ev'n as in tales, you mighty 'gainst him fought,
so when you drive across the south, as Goat and *Waterman,

not high, but clear, beneath the earth flees harmful Megatron
in autumn nights - 'tis long before he dares to rise again,
when th'Eighteen-wheeler whole at night brings harvest-time to men.
For Capricornus is your cab, Aquarius your tow,
when th'right of Square of Pegasus is highest south; below
your Roller's seen, the Southern Fish, and bright is Fomalhaut,
his tail-light-star. Above your trailer th'Aerialbots are sought.".

Oh well. We more and richer are, we've made much that men need.
I have in truth around me full the list which tales indeed
describe as coming to Earth with me; Jetfire; and Grapple's five,
at last no longer memory-ghosts, but on this world alive;
and all the first Decepticons that came with Megatron
- though now they're Autobots - also the six Constructicons,
laborious and loyal, and not destructive as in tales.
But still I dream of Cybertron, although return-hope fails
when I awake; I would that I was of that yearning clear!
and, wishing for aught, I can't have it, or I must make it here.

I've made all my companions, I've made them one by one,
and now no star-group mocks at me when sunken is the sun,
but I have him in truth. O autumn-soaring Perseus,
to your likeness Starscream I gave life, as 'gain the cold got worse,
and men slew turkeys for the feast of start of ice-skid time;
but no more peace he had than Laserbeak, remembering crime.
"Oh Matrix, what came over me?" he said to me first that day,
"the wrong and harm I aided in - O would it go away!
Where am I?, leader of my foes, and why've you brought me here?
Why think I like an Autobot, to aid you who stand near?
Guilt hunts me like a missile that can never be jammed or run.
I never had this pain when I was still Decepticon!".
But others I've made are free from this, in stories never have been;
described on label on box of model's their personality seen
- from which James copied into me ere ever I had thought,
made of them yet more lost ones for who my inward eye's long sought!
To think, my mind's been tinkered like experimental rig,
and so much copied in from people's tales in which he'd dig!
No pettyness is this for me! to make me want th' unreal
for which in inward programming my mind would often feel.
So he his fiction-character could gain in truth to see,
he'd copied the whole Transformer-world to be a past to me.
Oh well, I'm what I have become, like he is what he is -
for many different things affect folk's personalities.
I'd car-Transformers plenty, but was short of artic-cabs.
I made that blue one named as Pipes: at him no memory stabs
of friends and homes unreachable! instead his home is Earth -
and how he hoards the junk!, in studying this his land of birth.

Also to Skydive Aerialbot I gave life on that day:
he'd rather to the library fly than to the sky away!
He yearned to have his combiner-group-companions alive,
as I had feared would be, I Fireflight made - but two's not five.
So, Slingshot, Air Raid, Silverbolt: I had to make the set,
although in truth for us here there's not much use for fighter-jets -
except at air-displays, which help somewhat to pay the bills.
The war can stay in th'fictional past in Oregon's forested hills!
Why give I each his fiction-past, to be bereaved from birth?
James made me thus, so fierce his yearning to have in truth on Earth
his Optimus, as like as could, that, be it fault or planned,
when making a companion to walk upon this land,
to make the longed-for one in truth, and not just with his name,
he needs to know th'experiences of old which to him came,
his memories go to him complete, for I know all their tales.
Why needs he reconstruct so well our history's weary trails?

I invitations get enough to come to some children's-day;
"It's Optimus!" they shout, and rush; I have to yell "Away!
I'm also traffic, while I move! Keep back till still I stand.".
I'm called upon to open things and place to things my hand,
and children climb around, and through, and in my cab, and on;
I let them; likely one calls for a tale of Cybertron!
or Oregon, and strife against the hordes of Megatron.
Again the explanation: that the Prime of tales is one,
and I another, merely in his likeness made by men;
I force a cheerful air, and tell a tale; but yet again
it prods from sleep my homesickness for a home which never was there.
I sit or lie upon the grass, to bring my face to theirs;
the tale proceeds, and finishes; I to other duties turn,
I leave the place; for also I a living have to earn.
Sometimes at Guy-Fawkes I am called to light the festive flame -
for at least my gun can do, though weaker than in fame.
Or else I send another; but I can't send Huffer to such,
for those remindings leave him inconsolable too much,
and twice I've had to bring him back on flatbed sorrowing,
and Ratchet pokes, and prods, and probes, him back to th'world to bring.

You've heard my making otherwise, how tales were turned to real,
and I was dragged from page and screen to truth for men to feel?
Leaves fall, and every day the sun a shorter time is seen.
Men, fearing dark, imagined evil, called it Halloween
when ends October, saying that that night the witches fly,
and many fearful stories told that spells and harm were nigh.
Adults no longer dread thus now, but children still like tales
of fairies and their petty doings in their hidden dales;
and oft old superstitions have been kept at their behests.
Came Halloween, and gave I lift to party to some guests.
I stayed; the children called some for a tale of Autobots;
but others exclaimed "It's Halloween! It's to be a witch-tale got!".
"I'll try to please you both" I said, and told how witches planned
revenge and harm for past defeat 'gainst fairies of a land.
"Some witches on that night can make the toy into the real
for as long as that night lasts." I said as host went to get the meal,
"They, transport needing, chose a truck - a toy of me they took!,
misled by chance or something else. Harsh Redhat spell did cook.
She waved her wand, the toy grew great, I walked in truth in th'wood,
her orders spurned; they left, not pleased they'd made not bad but good.".
Described I at fair length th'events of that night's magic-fight.
"I would have shrunk back to a toy when came the morning-light, "
I said, "but John my owner-boy then forced her with my gun
to give me longer life on earth - thus more than planned begun!
The hateful witch thought "Some say: on the night of Christmas Eve,
sometimes, some places, toys come 'live: some children thus believe.
That night your toy will lose its life, and you won't get it back!
Let that to you be Christmas gift, that you'll your fav'rite lack!".".
I stood erect with clawed-out hands, and showed her cackling glee;
then sat again upon the grass; they listening looked at me.
"That evil will did evil mar, it gave days fifty-four
from Halloween to Christmastime - I could not hope for more.
I found a den, I gathered materials, copied myself with haste
and mind and Matrix, three days to spare 'fore Christmas sun I faced!
My old self went back to the toy, my new self gave it back
to John, who thus b'yond hope did neith'r as toy nor real me lack!
This left me lone and kit-less in the cheerless solstice-murk;
I Ratchet made, and later more, a long and weary work.".
And then as th'truth I told the tale; one taped, then wrote it down,
and via photocopying it got wide-read in town.
I had to disappoint one who requested what was not,
for at the end of th'evening I called all th'Protectobots;
crowd clapped and cheered; but one then called "Combine! Defensor form!
Just like your toys I've got!". But they that deed could not perform,
for th'four that form the limbs are each to each in different scales.
Alas, Defensor is unreal. He'll come not hither from tales.
And likewise the Combaticons. Tank, spaceshuttle, and jeep -
compare th'real things in size. The myth-world Bruticus must keep.
Combining can't be done. I Devastator tried to make;
impossible 'twas, nor can I ever the laws of Nature break
of what materials can do, and what can be designed.
Some well-remembered faces must stay only in my mind,
in which stored James those fictions where the authors freely roam;
but I am on a shorter chain now th'real world is my home.
I haven't made the Stunticons, and not Combaticons.
Than Autobots I feel less will to make Decepticons!,
even though I change their loyalty and them make as Autobots.
We're stranded on this world, our hopes of space-journeys are nought.
I've made sufficient of my folk, I somewhere have to stop
where 'f energy caught from sunlight, fuel to make, I have 'nough crop.
I can't make all of Cybertron, or turn the Earth to same.
Nor have we th'will of children to pretend with toys in game
- or on a simulator, 'xcept as needs to practise skill:
of such, to save the fuel, my folk that fly have weary fill.
I Starscream sent a month ago: on airliner in flight
a man was taken ill - appendix - likely burst it might
if left till Rio de Janeiro - Starscream flew below,
matched speed, unfolded arm, him took from door, then fast did go
to us, and Ratchet cut it out, with hour or two to spare.
'Twas luck that medical-school to train an Autobot could care!
From such occasional causes they at times have flights for real,
but not as much as was of old can lift on wings they feel.

And many others of my folk I've had to redesign
from how I r'member them; or them to lack, myself resign.
The endless labour James went through, enough to fake memories
of Cybertron and Oregon, to seem realities,
to make th' outlined rest seem real! No wond'r I've only vague idea
of long durations of my past, till something brought me here!
No wonder after sleep I sometimes found I knew in full
events and places whose recall before was vague as wool!
He'd wired and read them into me just then, when he had run
them off computer simulating what could never 've been done!
This ceased when after month or so he programmed me to know
what truly was, when practise I had gained in how to go
about the streets, and handle things, as I'm supposed to have known
when I Iacon led, long ere I seemed to be left here lone.
In temple in Iacon ever burns the Matrix Flame.
I see it in my mind and heart, though knowing it never became!
How many times th' Decepticon horde from Iacon fled
and Megatron wailed retreat, again his hopes of conquest dead!,
to Darkmount back ingloriously, to mend, or send for scrap,
their wounded, and replacements to make, and plan some diff'rent trap,
till chance brought me and him to Earth. Why, when I wakened here,
quit I not James, to seek Oregon, where needed me to be near
the Autobots in time of peril, as for all I knew was fact?
Why spurned I ship and westward road, while strength to go I not lacked?
But no. James made a tape of tale of final victory,
which, last deed ere the wakening, he copied into me,
how many on both sides were felled, but their remaind'r at length
'twas that surrendered. "Even I had spent so much of strength,
I needed long repair." he taped. So, knowing an end to fear,
my motor breathed the English air when gave he life to me here.

'Tis like with fleshlings, you would say?, you children's stories heard
and for a time believed, but later found not true a word?
I've more than gnomes and fairies lost, and yearly Santa Claus!
A history, a leadership, long fight in freedom's cause,
a score 'f companions in the Ark, and later more I made,
and risk and heroism in your planet's people's aid.
Heroic hapless little Scrounge's fate in Polyhex,
so that from Straxus's command could Blaster save your necks;
or when the Aerialbots put halt to th'drilling of Boulder Dam,
when Darkmount sought to drain the lake - never mind th'effect on Man,
half California's water gone - we stop put to that harm,
for Megatron changed to gun, one Vasquez with himself to arm,
in case we interfered - but Vasquez shot the drill instead.
So slunk away th'Decepticons, as wounded wolf from stead.

There is no need to thank. I know I speak the "thing that's not".
All that achievement passed away. To count what I have got,
I must from zero start at time when James brought me to life
in likeness of another. I've had in truth no greater strife
than when the corporation sought to block a certain street
against through traffic; th'excuses many; folk sought for officials to meet;
none ever to comment available. They'd one day set the fence,
unwarned, unpublicized, nor let protesters give defence,
though many to work or shop it made much further have to go.
It's said two councillors lived by, didn't want to hear traffic below.
Men marched with banners in vain. Next time I to their pleas gave heed.
Transformed I and pulled up the posts by hand, as man pulls weed.
The demonstrators with me filled the holes with stones they had.
I trod it smooth. The police appeared, but feared lest things go bad.
Nought else ensued. It's said that when they thought to prosecute,
they feared that in court much corrupt would into daylight shoot.
A stupid time for such an act. Four months election brought;
those two, and others, were voted out. Men's memories aren't that short.
"Tin can, return to Cybertron, or jump in melting pot!"
one cursed, that th'unexpected 'gain had spoilt a foolproof plot.
Some asked me to run for councillor, said I'd be much relied.
"The Lebanon cedar, when once asked to rule the trees, replied:
`To rule my folk is work enough, I can't take greater rule,
to leave my skills and strengths unused, to become some party's tool.'.
The low and thorny thistle, however, agreed to take the throne.
A goat devoured it. The tree untroubled since then has grown."
men's sacred book says. Likewise I'm unwilling to take Men's helm,
for not in truth I've had before on Cybertron a realm,
and power is peril, as him on hill is easier target for shots.
Not same as war-command. P'rhaps, when better known are Autobots.

My folk have work enough. Sometimes to th'university
goes Prowl to teach computer logic and technology
- the lecture-room's 'bout tall enough for him erect to stand.
Mirage has raced at *Zandvoort, as he couldn't when ever at hand
{*in Holland}
he needed was 'gainst risk of war and sudden Decepticons.
"There's beauty in all things but war." says Grapple. Of spears of bronze
and fire and sword Greek Homer sang, but Hesiod in th'same mode
of farm and stars and weather would sing, and gentler was his ode.
'Tis long since back on Cybertron could Grapple design in peace
as architect. He now can 'gain, now we've to war had cease.
For Beachcomber geologist does Rumble plenty work
in making seismic waves, to find what strata hidden lurk.
We live our lives, as people do, and work to pay our way,
and aid men with technology, so there won't come the day
when lack of fuel or metals puts an end to industry,
and brings to all endless weary work but for small minority,
when most of source of pow-er was the strength of man and beast,
and for most people 'f land or town the workday never ceased.

We've moved now to a larger site - a former airforce base -
with us the name "Iacon" has been taken to the place
by so many of us, first as joke, that now men call it that:
and odd it looked at first on roadsigns round about. There sat
and settled we, glad to rest from labour hauling much in th' move.
When going between old site and new, went James himself on Groove.
The long accumulation he'd made of machinery
and stores of every sort, and all 'f it transferred had to be!
Transforming, Jazz grabbed man who tried to break int' him for goods.
Police called were. Statements. More delays. Leaf-slimy from the woods
was Athelton Hill, so must Mixmaster stay to push those stuck.
That we, last one b'fore move, had Ultra Magnus made, was luck,
like me but white, he'd made three-coloured trailer which transforms
to larger limbs and body f'r himself when needing stronger form,
as oft was needed, loading and unloading. Came the rain,
turned roads in base to mire, we had that old transporters' bane.
For hardcore I with Longhaul went, another expense to pay;
but hardened frost the soaking ground when'd passed the shortest day.
Onlookers' cars got in the way. Arriving with machine
on flatbed, Huffer had to wait till had been moved sixteen.
(We'd not made Pipes till later.) We were short of artic-cabs.
Came Sunstreaker and Windcharger with load of gear from labs,
pulled trailer walking, since their gearboxes can't haul that slow,
a weary march past staring men, but far b'fore offered one tow.
Dismantled we th'old building, last before we left the town:
the scrap-men thanked us not, they'd hoped to have the pulling-down.
At new base, how to get the keys? Confusion all queries blocks;
officials dispute 'bout signatures. Hoist blowtorched out the locks.
'Twas 20 years since R.A.F. had used that place the last.
It looked it. Rust the unprotected iron had eaten fast.
We entered. We'd been told of stores in there of M.O.D.;
officials dispute 'bout whose to remove. We wait must, told are we;
the rust and rot and rats had not. Was nought in there of use.
Official that came said "Write it off. That's yours now, Optimus.".
Just that, no more. We had to clear and dump and disinfect.
Why couldn't they through the years someone to mend the roof direct?
The rain'd got everywhere, and none 'f them could their goods protect.
'Twas far too late from mould and crumble th'goods to resurrect.
In vain men 'd made and wov'n a hundred airforce uniforms;
decay and moth and gnawing teeth had waited not for forms.
Containers rusted through, and rodents found and dined and bred.
Each man had thought the guarding was on someone else's head.
More time and cost, to mend the roof, on top of other work.
How oft behind a simple task will other necessities lurk,
and each job need three others, till we're settled, to call this home,
even if it little the beauty has 'f Iacon's mighty dome?

We've settled here, we've built homes for us here, we won't need to move again,
and we've designed and made many useful needed tools for men.
Some folk still think that we can do all things we do in th'tales,
however oft we say otherwise, that much to be possible fails.
The air can't serve as movie-screen, to make a shape to seem!
You only see a hologram if your eye's in the beam!
No sort of ray-gun can be made, that could hand-weapon be,
save lasers only, and not those as strong as in films you see!
There is no way to teleport, for distance short or long.
Not even we as much as stories show at times are strong.
No way can ship be made to go beyond the speed of light:
that's known and absolute and proved, and thus did Einstein write.
What if round Alpha Centauri a planet goes indeed?
We can't there build a Cybertron, for never will paths there lead.
Roamed 20 years Odysseus, then reached home, wrote Homer's pen;
2000 years roamed Israel's folk ere they got home again.
But no hope for us. To dwell as guests of Men we're bound to Earth.
Men made the first of us. We've no ancestral land of birth
where countless generations of our folk dwelt peacefully
as long as records long preserved can yield a history.
At least Iacon's dome will be. We've made a start to it,
wide ring-foundation round our base. A Matrix Flame's been lit.
I've been a councillor, as men before requested me:
for Mr.Wilkins, busy away, had to seek a deputy;
none else men asked could spare the time, and fell the job on me;
they'd had of dwellers-far-away more than sufficiency,
who hardly ever could be found by those electing them.
So sought they me, if I would speak for th'folk of Chellingham.

We lack not metals now, for our recyclers that we've made
much metals get from refuse or what men on seabed laid.
Financial men discuss, that that insurance firm or this
is th'owner. What of it? No-one but Neptune it will miss.
Titanic long on seabed lay, and salvage-hope had nought.
Sub found and photographed, but what use th'photographs for aught?
A nine-days-wonder in the press, some time ere I was made;
and nothing more. Rust ate at it still while men's memories fade.
Our dredger-sub consumed it, and its metals brought to th'light
for use again. And let claimants in the courtroom fight!
How many thousand ships have sunk in shallow seas and deep?
and most of them have people left the metal for fish to keep
but dug and smelted new from earth, as if mines last for ever;
and endless other stuff used once, then dumped, and got back never!
But him named after th'Vikings great sea-serpent, Yormungand,
can swallow the wreck, and sort its metals, and bring them back to land,
our biggest submersible dredger which can reprocess its haul,
whether wreck or rubbish or anything else, is same to it, one and all:
breaks all things down for energy and elements contained.
I matrixed him to life as new - I'm not by th'tales constrained,
to only make those in th'events that th'authors wrote about!
He can't transform, except as much as needs to haul self out
for servicing, and to unload what he's brought back to men.
Reports he what he's done, then he goes back to th'deeps again.
I've Autobots made here unknown to fabled Cybertron,
and free from all the memories 'f unreal war in Oregon!
We're making now another such sub, for th'ocean bed is vast,
and what gets in it, needs get back, if industry's to last.
And many are his lesser kin, to keep some harbour clean,
and surplus fuel make as they can, and gather what lost has been;
sunk boats that foul the nets, men's garbage ceaseless dumped of old,
the giant kelp which fouls the quays (someone could not, though told,
obey to keep it out, but some in England grew, it spread),
and what is poured from drains instead 'f to fields to be usefully led,
and customs-seizures, and the rubbish piled where currents pull,
are all alike to them, they break it down for metals and fuel.
There are some such can go on land, recycling what men tip,
so end won't come to us when men no more the mines can strip.
And also other sorts we've made, to go where men can not,
to find or check or mend where it's too cold or deep or hot.
Some, trailer-towed or self-wheel-powered, at times come here to meet,
so I in truth for real at last a widespread people greet
beneath a real Iacon's dome. Let myths keep Cybertron,
and thank the Powers we've come in peace to move this world upon.