‘AI’ & ‘REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST’: POEMS & GRAPHICS

By Posted on 8 Comments2min read140 views

The poems were inspired by conversations with the artist, Evie Chapman. The poems, in turn, inspired Evie Chapman’s artwork.

 

AI

For Evie Chapman

 

 

Not ‘artificial insemination’, nor

a cry of dismay or woe, nor a

two letter word approved by Scrabble,

nor a three-toed sloth from the Guianas,

but ‘artificial intelligence’.

 

***

 

I set the computer on my exercise

bike – with its read-only-memory –

and, as I pedal nowhere in the study,

sometimes to engage my mind on the journey

I pick a book at random from the shelves.

Today it is THE FACT OF A DOORFRAME,

Adrienne Rich’s selected poems.

Again at random, I access it

at page forty six. Helpfully the poem,

entitled ‘Artificial Intelligence’,

is dated: 1961. The poet

has been bested at chess by a computer.

‘I’m sulking,’ she says, ‘in the great tradition

of human waste’ and, deliberately,

personifies the ‘digital’ machine,

addressing it directly: ‘…denied

our luxury of nausea, you

forget nothing, have no dreams’.

 

***

 

We live much of our lives in metaphor,

frequently when ‘the tables have been turned’

and life becomes ‘an uphill battle’.

We often like to think ‘the grass is

always greener on the other side’,

especially after ‘it’s been raining

cats and dogs’. ‘Artificial intelligence’

was ‘coined’, yes, in that great tradition –

by USA computer scientists

nearly seventy years ago. So

why the current razzmatazz, the last ten year’s

of increasingly noisy razzle-dazzle,

about what AI will do for us

or to us now, as if it were some

recently arrived sentient being,

a software Golem come to redeem us,

a binary Godzilla bringing

the end of days – not something that needs

the electricity to be switched on

to work? Maybe somebody somewhere

is looking to make a fortune or two

out of  our gullibility – yesterday’s

news become today’s snake oil?

 

REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST

For Evie Chapman

 

 

Now that I have been summoned to bear witness

to the ‘swinging sixties’, a decade

half my lifetime away – when Liverpool,

according to the poet, Allen Ginsberg,

was the centre of ‘the human universe’,

when the empires of the USA

and the Soviet Union curtailed

the lives of millions, and raced, like small boys,

to be the very first men in the moon –

I shall make some notes in order to

blow the dust off the archived albums

of my memories: I was 17

when it began, a high school student,

and a poet, and 27

when it ended, husband, father, teacher,

property owner, and still a poet;

from adolescence to adulthood,

from dependence to independence,

in ten long sometimes joyful, sometimes

unsteady steps; from falling in love

with a pretty girl, and staying in love;

from youthful insouciance to the pride

and awe at having a daughter; commonplace

wonders, shaping futures.

 

 

GRAPHICS: ©Evie Chapman 2024

‘AI’ & ‘REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST’: POEMS & GRAPHICS

By Posted on 8 Comments

The poems were inspired by conversations with the artist, Evie Chapman. The ...

‘A SHROPSHIRE LAD’…

By Posted on 3 Comments

…is the first book of poetry I owned – a breast pocket ...

THE FASHION OF THE EARTH

By Posted on 0 Comments

In a letter published in The Times in May 1936 – the ...