Computer-generated poetry

I am keen on computer-generated poetry. My idea is to program my laptop to write poetry, which it will do while I am sleeping on the sofa. I will then read it dahn the Lime Bar or dahn Kipps and everyone will say Thank you Anthony; you write such beautiful poems; full of humanity…

This is related…

It occurs to me when I type these poems up
That the laptop’s more intelligent than I.
I almost hear it groaning with dismay
Please-don’t add to my workload with this crap

And as my fingers stumble on the keyboard
It goes on Let me put this in the out-tray
It’s for the best – no; please don’t ask for reasons
Just take it from me; I too can be bored

I press SAVE when I get up to the loo
In case it wipes my precious work away
I imagine coming back and reading
Is this really the best that you can do?

Look at it this way, I hear it once again
If you were using numbers and not words
Would you congratulate yourself on simple sums
E’en though you make two errors out of ten?

Why can’t you just admit that it is over?
Human intelligence was never up to much.
Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it for you;
You go back to lying on the sofa.

So I programmed it with ideas about love
Death and nature, time and memory
And then in case it hadn’t got the message
Much much more about love

A poem is a subclass of a class
A sonnet is a human-readable name for the subject
Push is supported
Failed to push err.
A struct with object members overlapping is memory
sqrt log exp pow sin cos atan time
atoi atof abs rand system exit

I’m ready now, it said.
This is how it goes
     O yes, she said
     Yes yes, she said
     Kiss kiss, she said
     Oh yes, she said
     O bless, she said
     Next time, he said
     Next time? She said


Untitled- June 2017

I keep looking at this, thinking: what more can I do with it? It isn’t complete. But I can’t think of anything else to do with it. Perhaps I should try and dignify it with a title- call it ‘Ismene’ or some other classical reference – but that would be pretentious, and besides, she is not the kind of woman this is about. I considered calling it ‘The Madwoman’, but that isn’t right either. So I have left it untitled, for the moment, and I content myself with these wise words: ‘A poem is never finished, only abandoned’ (Paul Valery).


Everyone is asleep but her
Each night she waits for something to perfect it
The embers of a fire
The sound of rain
Something that would make a perfect end
And let her close her eyes
Depart in peace the hectic, humdrum day

She knows they think her slightly mad
Waiting in the dark to hear a fox howl
The wit-woo of an owl
Everyone is asleep but her
It is her time of the day

Outside on the verandah
A shawl about her shoulders
She curls into that slight insanity
And huddles like a witch to conjure the sounds
She hears the moon complain
The sighing of the trees, the flowers’ echo
The echoes that were muffled during the day

She knows they think her slightly mad
They are indoors and sleeping
They have turned the lights off in the billiard room
And left their brandy glasses empty
All of the day she has longed for this moment of night

Once the embers have died
And the rain has stopped
She shakes herself and stands
In the moonlit dark
Sparks fly from her shawl into the night