Tag Archives: Robin Helweg-Larsen

Odd poem: AI-generated poem in answer to “Can you write a poem about AI in the style of Robin Helweg-Larsen?”

Silicon and code,
A symphony of thought,
A machine mind unfolds.

A spark of electricity,
A flicker of light,
A new form of intelligence,
Is born tonight.

A labyrinth of algorithms,
A dance of ones and zeroes,
A new kind of consciousness,
Is ours to discover.

The future is here,
A fusion of man and machine,
A symbiosis of intellect,
A cosmic dream.

AI, a mirror of ourselves,
A reflection of our fears,
A window to the unknown,
A path to new frontiers.

Robin Helweg-Larsen is a Danish poet and author known for his poems that express a sense of wonder and reverence for the natural world. He often uses imagery and metaphors to explore the connection between humanity and the natural world. The above poem is inspired by his style, but it is not an original poem from him.

*****

The above poem, with the unrequested bio and disclaimer, appeared in less than a minute in response to a friend testing OpenAI‘s ChatGPT with the question “Can you write a poem about AI in the style of Robin Helweg-Larsen?”

I am intrigued. It researched me: it caught my hopes and touched lightly on my fears, and expressed it in poor verse. Fair enough! But actually it’s not yet capable of good verse. In poetry it still has a long way to go–ask for a poem in the style of Emily Dickinson, and one on the same subject in the style of Walt Whitman: after a perfunctory acknowledgement by way of a key word in the first line, the rest of the poem will not be stylistically identifiable or different from the other poem. Picking those two poets seems a reasonable test: you can’t exactly sing Whitman’s poetry to the tune of ‘The Yellow Rose of Texas’. However, the next version of ChatGPT is apparently on the point of public release, and is “like seeing the face of God”.

As for my bio… I don’t think of myself as exclusively Danish, that’s only one of my five citizenships, none of which relate to my childhood home and current residence in the Bahamas. But I’ll take it. I’m also not sure about being “known” for anything as a poet! But I’ll take that too. ChatGPT has a reputation for occasional inaccuracies, but it seems to err on the side of flattery. An interesting trait. We’ll just have to wait and see if its good nature continues past The Singularity, when AI takes off into explosive self-development beyond human capabilities…

Ray Kurzweil forecasts The Singularity to take place by 2029. This is the end of the world as we know it. As with all life anyway, enjoy it while you can!

Photo credit: AI-generated by OpenAI’s Dall.e 2 from my request: “Robot writing a poem in 1940s SF style”.

Short poem: ‘Punster’

The artist said the wit
was “full of it”,
disparaged him.
The punster tore the painter limn from limn.

*****

Apparently some people believe that puns are “the lowest form of humour”, but I would suggest that those people are not good at wordplay, and therefore have no poetic sensibility. Look to Homer, Shakespeare and Samuel Johnson for puns; enjoy more discussion and examples here.

This short poem was published in The Asses of Parnassus, home of “short, witty, formal poems”. Thanks, Brooke Clark!

Photo: “punster” by danbruell is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Sonnet: ‘Visiting Earth’ (from the series ‘Voices From The Future’)

I like to visit Earth sometimes; I find
the too-brief lives and simple cares a change
from the infinities in which we range,
we who now live unbodied in vast Mind.

I love to watch the children at a zoo,
careering up and down, shrieking to see
the strange lives in the weird captivity
they also share…and as their parents do.

Visiting in – of course – a human guise,
I can be young or old, female or male;
sex, power, seduction never seem to stale,
to give gifts seems fair pay for all my lies.

Sailors and tourists visit and then leave;
it’s best their hosts have something to believe.

*****

This sonnet was published in the current Alchemy Spoon, which had ‘Gift’ as its theme. It is one of a series of ‘Voices From The Future’ sonnets which I wrote in an attempt to present more diversity than the bleakness that Maryann Corbett had identified in my writing of what I see coming. Others are ‘Ultimate Control’ (Pulsebeat), ‘Exiled Leader’ (Star*Line) and ‘Dreaming of Flying’ (unpublished). Well, some people may find them all bleak, in the same way that Victorians would have found a description of today to be bleak; but what with travel, the Internet, dentistry… I’d rather be alive now than in the past. Similarly, I look forward to the future, no matter how much change is involved.

London Zoo, Human Exhibit” by fhwrdh is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Short poem: ‘Poetic Tours de Force’

We aim to sing
Boldly as the brave acrobat on his thin string
Across the air.
But yet, no matter how we juggle words and dare,
And think ourselves stupendous,
We’re risking nothing… we’re no Flying Wallendas.

*****

The Seven-Person Pyramid, the creation of Karl Wallenda, cost a couple of the acrobats their lives in 1962. https://www.heraldtribune.com/story/news/2012/06/10/wallendas-history-one-of-greatness-and-tragedy/29102856007/ Poetry may also try for spectacular effects, but without the inherent dangers of the highwire. Poets are more likely to risk their lives through their livers than anything else.

This short poem was just published in Lighten Up Online (thanks, Jerome Betts!)

Short poem: ‘Death Spiral’

We spiral round the sun, like water
spirals round a drain;
herded like sheep to the slaughter,
it’s an old refrain–
what you coulda, what you oughta…
so few years remain.

*****

This short poem was recently published in The Asses of Parnassus – thanks, Brooke Clark! Btw sorry if the poem seems morbid – fall/winter has always made me reflective; I’ve been feeling time running out since my teens.

File:Pool drain vortex as viewed from above the water at Grange Park wading pool.jpg” by Glogger at English Wikipedia is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Short poem: ‘Thoughts Pop’

Thoughts pop in your head…
should you say them or not?
There’s a lot to be said
for not saying a lot.

*****

This little poem goes very nicely with another short one, ‘Rainbow‘. They were published together in Light this month.

thought” by freshphoto is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Short poem: ‘Rainbow’

God made the rainbow as a sign
for post-Flood men to see.
The sign says, “I am Merciful–
and you better fucking agree.”

*****

According to the Book of Genesis, after God flooded the entire world He told the one surviving family: “I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.”

There are so many things to love in all this: the Noah’s Ark story, and the toys of it that delight children; the beauty of rainbows themselves; the alternative explanation that Irish leprechauns make rainbows to mark where they bury their gold; the Biblical suggestion that water droplets didn’t cause refraction of light before the Flood; the calculation that rain, to have flooded Mount Everest in 40 days, must have fallen at 29 feet per hour for that entire time… and above all the idea that God needed the rainbow to remind Him not to kill everyone whenever He gets angry.

But hey – rainbows are beautiful, at least we can all agree on that.

This poem was published in the most recent issue of Light.

Noah’s Ark” by Svadilfari is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

Poem: ‘Full Disclosure’

“The trouble with this growing old,” he said,
“You lose so much . . . and you get what instead?
If you can hang a bath towel on your tool
it’s wasted when you’re in an all-boys school.
Time was, I’d come — as you’d expect —
with just a look, a touch.
Now, not so much.
The only thing that gets me full erect
is feeling flesh firming from kiss and grasp;
so all my work is trying to make her gasp!
I need her climax if I’m to get sated.”
He looked at her. She looked at him. He waited.

*****

This semi-formal poem was published in the Lighthearted Verse subsection of Formal Poetry in that wonderfully rich and varied magazine, Better Than Starbucks. Where else could you find such a variety of areas of expression as BTS’ Regular Feature Pages?
Free Verse
Haiku
Formal Poetry
Poetry Translations
Poetry for Children
International Poetry
African Poetry
Experimental, Form, & Prose Poetry
Poetry Unplugged
Fiction
Flash Fiction & Micro Fiction
Better Than Fiction (creative nonfiction)
The Interview
Interviewee Poems
… and From The Mind of Alfred Corn

And tolerant enough to put up with my verse on occasion! Unfortunately they have announced they are going on hiatus… hopefully they will be back in 2023, as they have been a truly excellent outlet for all manner of poetry and prose.

Photo: “Mystery Man meets a friend” by mossimoinc is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

Odd poem: ‘The Naughty Preposition’ by Morris Bishop

I lately lost a preposition:
It hid, I thought, beneath my chair.
And angrily I cried: “Perdition!
Up from out of in under there!”

Correctness is my vade mecum,
And straggling phrases I abhor;
And yet I wondered: “What should he come
Up from out of in under for?”

*****

Morris Bishop had a high regard for light verse: “The aim of poetry, or Heavy Verse, is to seek understanding in forms of beauty. The aim of light verse is to promote misunderstanding in beauty’s cast-off clothes. But even misunderstanding is a kind of understanding; it is an analysis, an observation of truth, which sneaks around truth from the rear, which uncovers the lath and plaster of beauty’s hinder parts.”

Bishop was an acknowledged master of rhyme and meter, but that doesn’t imply that he would be limited by the grammatical restrictions of the apparently well-educated. He employed and enjoyed common speech.

Now this may sound strange coming from me, someone who writes a blog dedicated to the expansion of formal verse, but many “rules of grammar” are garbage. To me, correct speech is whatever unambiguously communicates what the speaker intended. This is naturally aided by the use of predictable patterns of word usage, because we are a pattern-recognition species, and this in turn leads to “rules”; but these rules are really only “commonly used patterns”.

Similarly the forms of traditional verse are there because they are useful: rhythm guides and builds emotion; rhyme, rhythm and wordplay all create engagement and help memorisation. The forms are neither arbitrary nor sacrosanct. The formality is purely useful (and part of its use is creating fun). Grammatical rules and formal verse have that in common.

Winston Churchill is often cited as the author of a scribbled comment on someone “correcting” his grammar: “This is the sort of nonsense up with which I will not put.” But that joke appears to predate his involvement with the issue: there is a lengthy discussion of it here in the Quote Investigator.

English has particularly confusing and contradictory rules because of the blending of several waves of Germanic speakers (Anglo-Saxons, followed by Danish invaders and later Dutch merchants) overrunning the British (i.e. Celtic speakers with their complicated auxiliary verbs: “How did you do that?”), in turn being overrun by French-speaking conquerors supported by Latin-speaking priests. (I recommend John McWhorter’s ‘Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue‘.) It was this latest ruling class that was averse to (among other things) ending a sentence with a preposition. But that’s a natural and correct part of speech for a Dane to end with.

And I’m an Anglo-Dane.

T-shirt Slogan: ‘Never use a preposition to end a sentence with.’” by Ken Whytock is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Poem: ‘Fellow Student’

I went round to Sarah’s flat one night:
“Hi man,” she said, “Yeah, you can come in, sure,”
apologising as she shut the door –
“but not for too long, you know how it is –
I’ve got two essays still to write
and then exams start – I’m in quite a tizz.”
She yawned and laughed, said “I’ve just changed Sam’s nappy,
and now he’s fast asleep – at last!” she smiled –
“Wow, but he keeps me busy!” “Also happy,”
I put in. “Yes, but not all the while –
he’s got a weak chest, coughs, cries with the pain,
I get so uptight we both end in tears…
his dad got sentenced, over drugs, eight years…
that’s long: I guess we won’t get back again;
I’ve got my Finals coming up, and then,
after, who knows? I’ve hardly time for dreams:
with Sam and studying, sometimes, it seems
my life’s nappies and essays, nothing more.”
She changed the record, sat to roll a joint,
and said “First thing I do, even before
I take Sam to that Nursery up the road –
he’s bigger every day! He’s quite a load!
But anyway, that’s not the point –
first of all, I get stoned, and stay that way,
or else I’d never make it through the day.”

A new cloud added to her soft rich room
a further depth of blue, a silent pause.

She spoke again, her thoughts already gone
back to her work: “And then, they seem such fools,
dividing all Philosophy in schools.
You know my option is the Indian course;
I know so much of what the old books mean:
things of which lecturers can’t conceive, think guff,
I understand, they’re places where I’ve been…
I’m always trying to turn the lecturers on:
if they’d drop acid, or just smoke some stuff,
they’d see so much… but they’re not brave enough.
So Transcendental just remains
a trendy course which their students can take
if other courses can’t keep them awake.
But still they try their worst,” she said, nonplussed,
and read “The Bhaghavad Gita retains
relevance for our century. Discuss.

Christ, aren’t they boring!” she said, biro poised.
I let myself out, while she found her page,
and Briggs, her hamster, woken by the noise,
went streaming up the rat-race in his cage.

*****

This poem dates to the time after I had dropped out of the University of Dundee, but still came back to it in the years that saw most of my 25,000 miles of hitchhiking. I feel I learned more by wandering in and out of jobs, countries, languages and religions than I would have if I’d stayed on Sarah’s path. But then, I have no idea how life worked out for her, so who knows.

The poem is semi-formal – rhymed but without a rhyme scheme, in iambic pentameter with some occasional liberties taken with metre… but those liberties are comparatively acceptable, even beneficial, in a longish poem as they break up the metrical monotony. That’s my excuse anyway, and I’m sticking with it. The poem was published decades later in Snakeskin – thanks, George Simmers!

Hamster Race” by Naked Faris is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.