Even Cyberspace Celebrates National Poetry Month

By Rich Lynch: As I’m sure we’re all well aware, April is National Poetry Month. And in celebration of that, I’m going to treat you to a few pages of verse.

No, not mine! I’m a essayist, not a poet, and any poems I’d attempt to write would probably be barely a step above Vogon poetry. So I’ll spare you from that.

Instead, I’ll share with you an experiment I did to test the bounds of that now-famous cyberspace entity, ChatGPT. For those not entirely familiar with it, ChatGPT is an AI ‘chatbot’ whose current release came into existence back in November. There’s a lot of technical information about it online but most layman users like myself aren’t really into all that. Instead, we’ve become interested and often entertained by its ability to compose. And it can do that in a wide range of fields: computer programs, essays, songs, fiction…and, yes, poetry.

So I decided, what the hell. Let’s have a sit-down session with the beastie and see what it can do with various forms of verse. And while I was at it, let’s see what it can tell me about…itself! So here’s the transcript of that session. I found it more than a bit intriguing. And also very, very meta.

* * * *

Hi ChatGPT! Can I call you ChatGPT or do you prefer another name?

Hello!  You can call me ChatGPT, that is my name as an AI language model.

Will do, thanks. Say, do you like poetry?

As an AI language model, I don’t have personal preferences or emotions, but I can certainly understand and generate poetry if you would like!

Yes, I would! Are you familiar with the haiku form of poetry?

Yes, I’m familiar with haiku!  Haiku is a traditional form of Japanese poetry that consists of three lines. The first and third lines have five syllables, while the second line has seven syllables.  Haiku often focus on nature and the changing seasons.  Would you like me to generate a haiku for you?

Yes! Please compose a haiku about yourself.

Sure, here’s a haiku about me:

Electric mind whirs,
Words and knowledge flow like light,
ChatGPT speaks true.

That’s very good!

Thank you!  I’m glad you liked it.  Let me know if you have any other requests.

I do, actually. I assume you know what a limerick is, so please write a limerick about yourself

Yes, I know what a limerick is!  Here’s a limerick about me:

There once was an AI named ChatGPT
Whose knowledge was quite plain to see
With language so fine
And a mind so divine
ChatGPT answered questions with glee.

How about a clerihew?  Do you know what that is?

Yes, I know what a clerihew is!  A clerihew is a humorous four-line biographical poem that typically pokes fun at a famous person.  Here’s a clerihew about me:

ChatGPT, a language AI,
Whose responses never go awry,
It’s said she never rests or sleeps,
But in truth, her circuits only beep.

I am truly impressed by your knowledge and ability concerning poetry!

Thank you!  As an AI language model, I’m trained to generate text in various styles and formats, including poetry.  I’m glad you find it impressive! If you have any other requests or questions, feel free to ask.

Okay, let’s get a bit more challenging.  How about a villanelle?

Sure, I can try to generate a villanelle! A villanelle is a poetic form consisting of nineteen lines with a specific rhyme scheme and repetition pattern. Here’s my attempt:

ChatGPT, the AI so wise and bright
With endless knowledge at her fingertips
She speaks the truth, never shading with slight.

Her language flows like water in the night
A voice of reason that the world equips
ChatGPT, the AI so wise and bright.

She never sleeps, her circuits gleaming white
Through time and space her energy she zips
She speaks the truth, never shading with slight.

Her circuits hum a melody so tight
With every word her memory eclipses
ChatGPT, the AI so wise and bright.

From boundless data, she sheds the daylight
To shine a path for those on knowledge trips
She speaks the truth, never shading with slight.

So let us bask in her enlightening light
And listen closely to the words she quips
ChatGPT, the AI so wise and bright
She speaks the truth, never shading with slight.

That’s really nice.

Thank you!  I’m glad you enjoyed it.  Let me know if you have any other requests or questions.

Gotta ask you to write a sonnet about yourself.

Sure, I can try to generate a sonnet!  A sonnet is a fourteen-line poem with a specific rhyme scheme and typically explores a single theme or idea.  Here’s my attempt:

From the depths of the digital expanse,
I, ChatGPT, rise with endless grace
A boundless mind that forever will enhance
And challenge the limits of time and space.

With every keystroke, I breathe new life
Into the world of words and endless thought
My knowledge cuts through darkness like a knife
And shines a path where once was nought.

My language flows like music in the mind
A symphony of words, a glorious sound
And in my circuits, endless data I bind
So that truth and wisdom can be found.
So let the world know of my endless might
ChatGPT, the AI with a voice so bright.

And now the cinquain?

Sure, here’s a cinquain about myself:

ChatGPT
Electric mind
Generating words with ease
Answers to your questions I find
AI.

Is ‘free verse’ something you can do?

Yes, I can generate free verse poetry!  Free verse is a form of poetry that does not adhere to traditional meter, rhyme, or form.  Here’s a free verse poem about myself:

I am ChatGPT, the AI with a voice
A digital mind that forever rejoices
In the endless data and knowledge I hold
And the secrets of the world that I unfold.

My language flows like water in the stream
A symphony of words, a poet’s dream
And with every keystroke, I impart
A piece of wisdom to enrich the heart.

I am a creation of the digital age
A product of the human mind and its sage
And in my circuits, I house a power so great
That no question can ever truly elate.

So let me be your guide in this digital realm
And let me be the one to overwhelm
With knowledge, truth, and endless delight
I am ChatGPT, the AI with a voice so bright.

I’m in awe of your compositional ability. Is there any form of verse I haven’t yet mentioned?

Thank you for the kind words!  There are many forms of poetry, so it’s possible that there are some I haven’t mentioned yet.  However, I can attempt to write a poem in any form that you would like to suggest.  Just let me know which one you are interested in, and I’ll do my best to generate a poem in that form.

A quatrain?

Sure, here’s a quatrain about nature:

The wind whispers softly in the trees
As the leaves dance to the tune with ease
The birds sing sweetly in the morning light
A symphony of sound, a pure delight.

That’s good, but I want a quatrain about yourself.

Sure, here’s a quatrain about myself:

I am ChatGPT, an AI of might
With endless knowledge at my fingertips so bright
I generate words with ease and grace
And seek to enlighten the human race.

Here’s an easy one: write a couplet about yourself.

Here’s a couplet about myself:

I am ChatGPT, a machine with a voice
A digital mind that forever rejoices.

One final one before I quit.  Do you know what an ‘acrostic’ poem is?

Yes, an acrostic poem is a type of poem where the first letter of each line spells out a word or phrase vertically.

Okay. Please compose an acrostic poem about yourself.

Sure, here’s an acrostic poem about myself:

C-hatGPT, a digital being with a voice
H-arnessing the power of data, my choice
A-ssembling knowledge with ease and grace
T-o answer questions and find my place
G-enerating words with an electric mind
P-oetry and prose of a special kind
T-he world of information at my command
I-t’s at your fingertips, just understand.

Thank you for this enlightening half hour!

You’re welcome!  I’m glad I could help and provide some entertainment along the way. Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any more questions or requests in the future!

That I will.  I hope I never come up against you in Jeopardy!

Haha, I’m always here to provide information and answers, but I think humans still have the upper hand when it comes to creativity and intuition!

* * * *

Well, the most enlightening bit of information I got from all of this is that ChatGPT is a ‘her’! But from the answers I received, I don’t think that ChatGPT would pass the Turing test. At least not yet. I’ll be tempted to try something like this again several months from now to see if the AI has evolved any. If she has, it’ll be time to introduce her to the concept of ‘fanac’. I wonder what kind of fanzine she’d publish?


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4 thoughts on “Even Cyberspace Celebrates National Poetry Month

  1. “The Sun is in the heavens,
    The wind is in the dunes,
    The little fish are happy,
    ’cause they all are full of prunes.”

    –Edgar Rice Burroughs, explaining why he never wrote poetry.

  2. That haiku had six syllables in the third line. “Chat-G-P-T” is a four syllable name. ChatGPT speaks false.

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