In the Quonset hut,

At the System Network Computing Center,

At a table,

One sat and punched Hollerith cards.

Then one handed the cards to a clerk, and



If the job produced results at once,

This was a bad thing.

There were errors in the JCL:

Perhaps a comma, perhaps the lack of a comma,

Perhaps a single letter or number—

All were candidates for causing the crash.


Job Classification Language.


Cards must be in order.

The first card must have one’s name and code;

The next cards must identify the software to apply;

Then the data cards, each revealing

Through its little rectangualr holes—its content.

The last card must have only two slashes—

Marking the end of the job.


--April 28, 2013