I referred to the Castles in the Cloud poetry in my post about cyber warfare the other week, and only after I’d published it I realised that the poetry wasn’t generally available, unless you’d bought my book Themself. So here are those poems, if you like them you might also like the book.

Castles in the Cloud

Laying Siege

Unsuspecting users are unaware of spam
silently suborning their systems. Malware lurks
waiting for the one in a million. Click
conscripted computers, zombies
in the ‘bot-net horde, pillaging
user credentials and sending more spam.

Each zombie sends tens of millions
of emails before they too are cleansed.
One day the hordes will swell,
the tide sweeping away all defences.
Then the zombie apocalypse will infect us all.

Castles in the Sky

Fortresses nestle in their own cloud, keeping out trojans. Patterned
on mediaeval concentric rings. Each level increasingly secure.
Guarded by daemons, the inner keep treasures personal
data. Identities, keys to unlock unseen riches from numbers
normally encased in dull plastic. The cloud’s silver lining.

Thickness is not measured in feet of stone, but bits
of encryption. It weathers badly, today’s granite is next
decade’s sand. Foundations built on a chain
of trust rather than bedrock. These walls can scale,
Hydra-like new servers spawn when the load becomes too heavy.

Attacking the cloud is Herculean to Quixotic,
the rewards are certainly legendary.


I’m a simple packet sniffing firewall
building trust by transparent inspection,
plain http or nothing at all.

A serious purpose not to be hindered,
security is an important mission
for a simple packet sniffing firewall.

Absolutely every packet must be read,
without encryption or obfuscation.
Plain http or nothing at all.

Odd or unreadable packets are dropped,
it takes only the slightest suspicion.
I’m a simple packet sniffing firewall.

No complex protocol can be tunnelled,
neither SSL nor db connection.
Plain http or nothing at all.

I listen on port 80 carefully prepared
to deal malware’s ultimate rejection.
I’m a simple packet sniffing firewall,
plain http or nothing at all.