Twas the night before startup, and all through the plant
Not a creature was stirring, not even an ant.
The wiring was hung by the electrician with care,
With hopes that good lining would keep them from wear.
The cooker tank was nestled on a slant on its beam,
While starchy feedstock inside it mixed with enzymes and steam.
The fermenters sat empty from bottom to hatch;
The system on idle before its long process batch.
When out in the parking lot arose an engine’s roar,
I sprang down from the catwalk and headed for the door.
Past the boiler I flew with wind at my back,
I grabbed the door handle and open’d just a crack.
With the sun just setting down past the airport,
The shadows grew longer making sight tough to sort.
When who in the lot to mine eyes should appear,
But a tanker truck, full of what looked to be beer.
Despite a sharp reflection off the trucks’ front windshield,
I knew in a moment it must be Butterfield.
Then quickly behind, other feedstock trucks came,
And he pointed, and shouted, and directed by name!
“Here beer waste, here crop wastes, here waste wines and waste booze,
There soda, there sports drinks, there juice and waste foods!
To the back of the lot! To the back of that wall!
Pull in quickly big rigs, pull in quickly you all!”
As professional drivers on a closed course do drive,
when instructions were finished, their gears came alive.
So into the lot the tankers they flew,
With an assortment of feedstocks, and Butterfield too.
And then, with a swoosh, I heard in the pipes
The flowing of liquids of various types.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around
Through the bay door Butterfield came with a bound.
He was dressed like a local, from his cap to his boot,
In a button-down and jeans, the local version of a suit.
He looked at the tanks all filling, wide-eyed.
You could see by his stance he was brimming with pride.
His eyes…how they sparkled! His smile, quite friendly!
He walked straight to the control screen and touched it ever so gently.
All around us the tanks were now full to their brims.
I wondered if we’d all might soon have to swim.
Just as fast as it started, the filling stopped with a squirt.
And then I wondered how such varied feedstocks would convert.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And activated preset system programs; then turned with a jerk.
And lifting his cap by its hard edged visor,
He nodded toward the screen, leaving us all a bit wiser.
He hopped in his rig, to the others gave a whistle,
And away they all drove as fast as a missile.
But I heard him exclaim, like a Saint to his disciple,
“Make Fuel, Fertilizer and Filtered Water from your food wastes; Happy Holidays to all, but please remember to Recycle!”