HTTP/2 204

(a poem)

Jacob Evelyn

“HTTP/2 204” is a poem that lives entirely within the headers of an HTTP response.

What does that mean?

When you visit any website, that site’s servers send your device an HTTP response containing the website data. This response also contains metadata in various “header” fields which help your browser to fetch and display the content correctly.

For example, the response from https://poets.org contains seventeen different headers—some standard (such as date or content-type) and some non-standard (such as cf-ray or expect-ct). Non-standard headers are typically for informational purposes or behavior not supported by every browser.

The poem

I composed this poem entirely from standard HTTP response headers. When the poem’s URL is requested, my server sends a “no content” HTTP response (status code 204, using the HTTP/2 protocol) whose headers form the poem. You can view the poem in your computer’s built-in terminal by running the following command:

curl --head https://ja.cob.land/http2-204
HTTP/2 204 date: one of those frigid Saturdays in November age: just turned 27 location: Messina's Trailer Park on Southside Drive trailer: 1967 Elcona single-wide (not as bad as it sounds) server: at the Neptune Diner until I can get published content-disposition: in the late autumn of my discontent accept-patch: if it contains nicotine tk: oh shit I should put something here expires: in my sleep I hope

How do I run that?

First, open your computer’s built-in terminal:

  • On macOS it’s an application called Terminal.
  • On Windows it’s either Command Prompt or Windows Terminal.
  • On Chrome OS follow these instructions.

Then, paste (or type) the command above and press enter.

Note that some computers have older versions of curl which may modify the poem slightly by using HTTP/1.1, adding a connection header, or alphabetizing the header fields.

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