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.".

Elsewhere nearby
some Autobots
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,
quickly driving;
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,
that wolf's-kinsman.
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
unenviable   inevitable
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.
Overspilt oil-lamps
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,
Empedoclano,   Alcalano
(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.