Saturday, August 02, 2014

Psalm 6.111

Following on my recent theme of things past and rediscovered, I wish to present to you, dear readers, a recently rediscovered poem.  To give some context: I wrote this in the fall of my sophomore year at MIT, in the midst of taking the digital electronics lab course, also known, in the MIT penchant for never using a name when a number will do, as 6.111, or sometimes more affectionately as "Digital Death Lab."  This was the time when many of us became quite intimately acquainted with the workings of a good oscilloscope, when one stayed up wiring breadboards by hand late into the night, comparing the neatness of ones wires with the friends who were doing the same.  This was the time when we learned that "digital" only really meant digital if you didn't drive too many circuits with your output, or mix high frequency signal lines, and if your power supply was clean, and a hundred other things that are the whole point of getting kids frustrated in a lab class: "In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is."

At some stage of progressive insanity, the first line of this poem mutated into my head from its origin in Psalm 23, and it then became a thing that was absolutely necessary for me to write and distribute to others, and my friends and I did so anonymously.  They might have helped write and edit some too---at this remove I have no real recollection, except for remembering a feeling of inspiration, and then of company in its execution.  As for you, dear readers... well, I suspect that some of you will get it and some of you will find it only mystifying, and really that's OK with me.  And so, without further ado...
Psalm 6.111 
Some words of comfort for the days ahead: 
The FLIPFLOP is my Synchronizer, I shall not want.
He maketh me to pipeline my whole circuit,
He leads me to program more EPROMs,
He restores my sanity.
He guides me in paths of synchronicity for his clock's sake.
And lo, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of CMOS,
I will fear no intermediate voltages,
for He is gated, His one or His zero, they comfort me. 
You prepare a haven for me in the presence of metastability.
You anoint my design with blocks, my logic shall rationalize.
Surely good grades and sleep will follow me, all the days of this semester
and I'll not dwell in the room of the LAB forever.
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