This is my first poem as an engineer, written about the Northrop B-2 Bomber project. At that time, when we wanted to make copies of a document, we stood in line to hand it to the copier attendant and told her how many copies we wanted. She gave me a skeptical look after glancing at this poem, but she went ahead and made the copies. I decided I needed to report it to my project manager in case he received word about an employee misusing copying privileges, but it never became a problem.
B-2 Bomber Blues
You get up in the morning in the darkness before dawn.
You stagger to your car once more while stifling a yawn.
You see the new day dawning while you drive the 91,
And after work you’ll go back home into the setting sun.
You choose the perfect parking spot, the one that’s not too far:
It takes you half an hour, then, to walk in from your car.
You used to have an office, once, before you came to Site.
Now, if you need a desk or chair you’ve got yourself a fight.
You used to get your mail on time, and now it’s two weeks late.
But you are not complaining, and you’re not the least irate.
The work load is impossible. The schedules are a joke.
The hardware just went down again; the boss will have a stroke.
B-2 or not B-2, that is the question that you wonder.
Will leaving Stealth somehow relieve the pressure that you’re under?
You suffer the stupidity no matter what they do.
You want to say that you were there the day the airplane flew.
Somehow you work out all the bugs, and make the last test run,
And QA signs the test report, and then you know you’re done.
The pressure’s off, the job is through, let’s start the celebration!
You take off now to Maggie’s for a pint of her libation.
And as you drink your beer you think of all the time you spent
Devoted to your terminal, and where the hell it went.
You started on this project back some sixty months ago.
You often questioned in that time how well you’ve fought the foe.
Was it worth five years of life advancing your career?
Did you make a difference for having spent time here?
You’ve rolled the dice, you’ve paid the price, you’ve striven for the gold!
You’ve shown the world what you can do—and then you pass out cold.
But after all is said and done, it’s worth the aggravation
To know you played some small part in the Earth’s annihilation.
John M. Campbell
Next poem: Driving to Bath