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From the December, 1994 and March, 1998 Singing Wires Journal newsletter

The Wire Chief's Dream

This poem and illustration was found in the March 1917 issue of The Telephone News, the company newsletter for The Bell Telephone Company of Pennsylvania.


Last night as I lay sleeping, unmindful of all harm,
Suddenly I was wakened by a fearful night alarm!
Erect with fear and terror my hair stood on my head,
Two ghastly phantom circuits were standing on my bed.
That they were both unbalanced was clear beyond a doubt;
Their legs were so distended I thought they had the gout;
The way they talked was frightful, and, almost dead with fear,
I heard this conversation which paralyzed my ear:
"Is this the man," said Number One (his wire was like a roar)
"Who cuts my transpositions so I can talk no more?"
"Ah, yes,'tis he," said Number Two; "to him suspicion points
As being most responsible for my poor resin joints."
"What shall we do with such a man?" they asked in accents wild.
"Torture on the relay rack, for him would be too mild."
After some further cross-talk they were at last agreed
To toss me to a toll trunk, tied by a battery lead;
Locked by a locking relay, they said without delay,
They'd anchor me with cord-weights on Miscellaneous Bay.
Up from the bed I started and ran with all my might--
In schooldays running jumpers had been my great delight:
The horrid phantoms chased me till I found, to my dismay,
My hurried flight had brought me to the shores of Relay Bay.
Just then I looked across the bay and saw, to my delight,
The reassuring glimmer of a trusty pilot-light.
"Throw me a farmer's line," I cried, "don't leave me to my fate."
The cheery cry of answering jacks told me 'twas not too late.
They bade me in a ringing key to grasp a local cord,
And they would work in relays to haul me up the board.
But just as they were pulling, the cord in pieces broke.
The phantoms would have caught me--but then, of course, I woke.