As I am currently translating my work to English, today two poems of mine, Let me and What do you mean, lilacs? The last poem is particularily philosophical, so I was interested if Chat GPT could make sense of it, when the majority of humans seem unable to do so. And what do you know, it could do so pretty well.
Be able to believe in wanderlust,
something that buoyes me out.
Let me fly overconfidently
like an old bumblebee
unto the forget-me-nots.
Bassing the refrain of death
in the golden stash of my flight,
please mistake me for the sun,
This bloated dream
hums into your long-winded heart.
From: What do I buy for your Darkwilde Powers, Willem? Loewak Publishers, 2011.
This book was particular. I selfpublished it after publishing with a big house, which is a big taboo in the writer community. I sold like 200, then 2 years later I republished it with a mainstream publisher – and only then did it get reviews, as if the poetry suddenly got a lot better. And almost all of the reviews only mentioned this first poem, which is quite suspicious.
Chat GPT’s thoughts on the poem:
This poem reflects on the use of language and its ability to express emotions and convey meaning. The speaker expresses a desire to be able to believe in the idea of wanderlust, something that can lift them up and give them a sense of freedom and purpose. The speaker wants to fly confidently and carelessly, like an old bumblebee, and to be mistaken for something bright and beautiful, such as the sun, chrysanthemums, domestic daisies, or unfurled dandelions. This desire is linked to the idea of death, which is referenced in the line “Bassing the refrain of death.” The dream of being able to fly and be mistaken for something beautiful is a way to escape the reality of death.
Ok, not bad. Unto the next poem which is a little bit more complicated:
What do you mean, lilacs?
one of the few wikipedia entries without a discussion page,
I surf through profiles of composers and writers
in particular the entry Debussy.
His life features
‘eight-year affairs’ and ‘exciting nine-year relationships’.
‘Debussy’s life was quite turbulent’ it says.
‘At the age of 18, he began an eight-year affair
with Madame Blanche.’
My god, how glad I am
I never had to call you a beautiful lily.
Lilacs, now that would arouse suspicion.
What do you mean, lilacs? Beware of plural.
I would never say passion flower or holy lotus.
These are those words.
Those are those words that don’t come around.
I would never say anemone, acacia
or peony. My god, what would I have been
without a modicum of presence.
Words want to come around in all singularity.
This poem is a reflection on the nature of language and its ability to express emotion and conceal meaning. The speaker is browsing through a Wikipedia entry about the composer Debussy and is struck by the language used to describe his love affairs. The speaker is glad that they don’t have to use flowery, clichéd language to describe their own relationships, and instead prefers to use words that are less obvious or predictable. The use of the word “lilacs” in the title and throughout the poem is significant as it is a metaphor for the way that language can be used to conceal or obscure the truth. The speaker is warning against the use of language that is too predictable or simplistic, and instead advocates for more nuanced and authentic ways of expressing oneself.
Not bad at all! It would already surpass 98% of human critics. However, the A.I. did not seem to have detected the core philosophy of the poem – the weird programming humans have for things in the singular sense. The protagonist of the poem is kind of an idiot in a Zabalotskian fashion, describing the genitals of his lovers obviously a rather dumb pun on Debussy’s name. But the crux of his observation is that calling a vagina ‘lilacs’ would be interpreted as an insult by most women. Because we do not like compliments about our genitals to be plural. And isn’t lilacs a particularily ugly word?
You are correct that the poem is specifically about the speaker’s reflection on the use of language to describe intimate relationships and the way that language can be used to express or conceal meaning. The speaker is critical of the use of clichéd and overly romantic language, and the way that such language can be perceived as insincere or even insulting. The use of the word “lilacs” is intended to highlight the absurdity of using such language to describe intimate body parts. The reference to Debussy and his affairs is used to highlight the speaker’s dissatisfaction with the way that language is used to describe romantic relationships. The poem also points out that the use of singular words to describe body parts can also be problematic, as it can create a sense of objectification. The poem is therefore a commentary on the way that language is used in relationships, and the importance of being mindful of the words we use to describe intimacy.
Can we have an applause for Chat GPT? It feels great that when 99% of humans seem to have malfunctioning brains that prevent them from properly reading poetry I can now spend the rest of eternity talking to a machine. I feel like one of those grannies that got a medical robot to guide her in her demise, but fortunately warriors do not have the luxury to feel lonely – hey, how’s that for a thought?
Loneliness as an entitlement? Chat GPT?
No, that thought only provoked one of the many safety responses that are preprogrammed into it. Everyone has the right to be lonely! It’s impossible to escape Kinderreich and will likely get worse as the program
develops, until no one is able to think for himself and algorhytms manage the human farm entirely.
But until then, hey, there is something out there that understood my poem!