Programming Perl, Second Edition

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8.6 Perl Poetry

The forgery in the attendant sidebar appeared on Usenet on April Fool's Day, 1990. It is presented here without comment, merely to show how disgusting the metaphors of a typical programming language really are. So much for anything resembling literary value. Larry is particularly relieved that "Black Perl", originally written for Perl 3, no longer parses under Perl 5.

Larry's, er, corpus has fortunately been overshadowed by that of the reigning Perl Poet, Sharon Hopkins. She has written quite a few Perl poems, as well as a paper on Perl poetry that she presented at the Usenix Winter 1992 Technical Conference, entitled "Camels and Needles: Computer Poetry Meets the Perl Programming Language". (The paper is available as misc/ on CPAN.) Besides being the most prolific Perl poet, Sharon is also the most widely published, having had the following poem published in both the Economist and the Guardian:

listen (please, please);
    open yourself, wide;
    join (you, me),
    connect (us,together),
tell me.
do something if distressed;
    @dawn, dance;
    @evening, sing;
    read (books,$poems,stories) until peaceful;
    study if able;
    write me if-you-please;
sort your feelings, reset goals, seek (friends, family, anyone);
        do*not*die (like this)
        if sin abounds;
keys (hidden), open (locks, doors), tell secrets;
    do not, I-beg-you, close them, yet.
                accept (yourself, changes),
                bind (grief, despair);
    require truth, goodness if-you-will, each moment;
select (always), length(of-days)
# listen (a perl poem)
# Sharon Hopkins
# rev. June 19, 1995

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