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Monday, February 13, 2023


by Barbara Simmons

Shutterstock AI-generated image in response to “trapped in darkness” line created by ChatGPT 

Can you write poetry?
                Free verse or form?
A sonnet on aging?
                Sure, here’s one that rhymes~
the words that show your golden hue
can stay aglow, even with wrinkles
that start to show.
Your words come quickly, resonate, too,
reminding me that aging carries its grace
I’m glad my sonnet resonates with you, I’m glad
I’ve helped express your thoughts. Anything else you’d like to have me write about?
Loneliness abounds in this post COVID world, 
so would you write a poem helping me to deal
with it?
I try to fill the void with noise,
But it echoes back with disdain,
I try to find joy in simple things,
But it feels like a never-ending strain
I fear my loneliness smothers
And I’ll be trapped in this darkness, enthralled
But then I remind myself
That I am not alone in this fight
Again, my thanks, dear ChatGPT, 
you seem to understand humanity’s plight,
so now I ask you for more help:
how to write about a marriage’s ending?
Would you? For my son?
Farewell, my dear, we part
Our love was true, but now it’s dark
The memories we shared the vows we spoke
Will linger forever, a permanent cloak.
I understand the lines, though not all ring true, 
the breaking bringing darkness of its own
to what had been the marriage’s light.
My poem was one perspective on letting go,
and may not resonate with all.
Let me add this is a process, not always easy,
important to focus on good memories, moments
of happiness, learning from past ones to be able 
to move forward. 
Please let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help.
I know my generative pre-trained transformer, ChatGPT,
generates human responses in its tool-trained ways, but
for that moment, I feel a virtual hug, feel someone
in this universe of merged moments cares, 
a universe responding when my own world’s cursor 
frequently is still.

Barbara Simmons, a Bostonian and Californian, says both coasts inspire her. An alumna of Wellesley and Johns Hopkins’ Writing Seminars, and a retired educator, she savors life, envisions, celebrates, and understands with words.  Some publications: Boston Accent, The New Verse News, Soul-Lit, Capsule Stories 2022: Swimming, and her book, Offertories: Exclamations and Disequilibriums.