Poem: "Insights From A Telescope"

NPR's All Things Considered posted a call for sonnet submissions on their Twitter so I entered the sonnet below, which I composed for a poetry class. It was selected to be read aloud on the show (you can hear it at the 2:10 mark). In this episode of All Tech Considered, NPR's Robert Siegel and Joe Palca discuss whether computers can write a short story or sonnet as well as humans. 


Insights from a Telescope

Adjust my aperture towards the deep sky.
Behold the gems of heaven on this world.
Pray my gaze will not be sullied by light
From the strip and the street-malls and suburbs.
Discover in the glass, the Pleiades,
Those sisters, seven sapphires in the dark,
Glow pretty, keen with visibility,
The celestial beings who guide my heart.
But through the other micro-lens I see,
An eye for science, an iris clear blue,
More stirring than the whirlpool galaxy,
Much brighter than the craters of the moon.
Which lens could I look through for longer time?
Observing each vast creation sublime. 


JOE PALCA: OK, so was the first [poem written by a] human or computer, do you think?
ROBERT SIEGEL: The first one was a computer, I think.
PALCA: And the second, that would be human, well?
SIEGEL: And the second one was human, yes.
PALCA: Well, actually, you're correct. The computer-generated poem came from a team that submitted to this Turing Test competition from the University of Southern California Information Sciences Institute, and the other poem was written by a human being (laughter) - Caroline Weinroth, who responded to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED's Twitter call out for sonnets. So thanks, Caroline.

- Show Transcript


Months later, after my poem was read on NPR, I received an email from someone in Florida who told me he found this poem handwritten in a message in a bottle!