World Wide Web

Robert Thibadeau
November 30, 1993

Note. In October 1993 there were a dozen or two users of the World Wide Web in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon.  I had asked Bob Berger ("Cowboy" from the Hack House Hackers) to set it up for me in my lab on a Sun Workstation, so I could see how it worked.  Two days later I wrote this poem on the World Wide Web because I couldn't get the first experience out of my mind.  I knew this perfected kind of Internet bulletin board was coming, but to finally see it left the impression I captured in the poem. A book I wrote presaging the Internet and written about six months earlier is here. 

This is the home page I created the day I sat down on the web for the first time.  I didn't like the term "home page" so I made up "residence poster" in denial.

The House Dragon reference is correct although another English translation would be the 'Dragon of Heaven.' The Pearl, similarly, can have variant translations, but my Chinese friends say this one is acceptable. Dragons are popular ancient folk objects in China, so it is hard to actually know anything completely definitive about them aside from the variety of ideographs that convey their sense in various contexts and locales. The use here is met the test of a presentation to the Taiwan National Library in Taipei in 1997. 

I never thought I would see the day 
When books looked superfluous. 
I saw, the day before yesterday, 
The world. 

I leapt about, from Japan, to Here, to 
To Finland, 
To Italy. 
Like it was nothing. 

And I got deep 
Into people 
What they were thinking and doing 
What they wanted and thought 
I might like. 

This is what a book 
Was supposed to be. 
But this was much better. 
I made up the plot, 
And I discovered the real story. 

All right there. Right then. And, 
Like the world, 
It would never repeat again. 

I really would like to have books 
With their tree paper 
Go the way of the dinosaur. 
This is nearly it. 
It is a place to really learn. 

Will Internet become the dragon? 
You know, the house dragon. 
The oldest dragon. From China. 
You know, the 
Dragon of Peace holding 
The Pearl of Everlasting Life.