In memory of Charlie Strauss:
pioneer of computer graphics, wit,
and dear friend of my late parents.

In the fevered world of AI hype, the latest great to-do
Has been triggered by the automated artist, DALL-E 2
You specify a caption for a picture that you want
And it generates an image corresponding to your prompt.

Of all the program's strengths, the most remarkable by far
Is the variety and range of its stylistic repertoire.
From Monet to Diane Arbus, from Vermeer to Jeffrey Koons
To early nineteenth-century political cartoons.

But it finds its true vocation in combining with a twist
Bizarre discordant images in style surrealist.
It follows in the footsteps of its famous eponym
And its flagship product is a half-robotic face of him.

The program has its weaknesses. It doesn't seem to see
The function of semantic compositionality.
It doesn't know its numbers. It doesn't reason well.
And when it uses words, it really really cannot spell.

I've struggled long and earnestly, with Gary and with Scott,
To understand the program: What it is, and what it's not.
But despite my best endeavors, I cannot explain to you
The mesmerizing images produced by DALL-E 2.


This is part of the collection Verses for the Information Age by Ernest Davis