Definitely Limericks by Rory Ewins


’22, it turns out, is the year
Artificial intelligence is here.
Its pictures and chat
Are half-decent, and that
Fills some writers and artists with fear.

After many years of being more promise than reality, AI could be said to have arrived in 2022, first with the emergence of tools that create convincing images, such as DALL-E 2, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion, and then with the appearance of ChatGPT, which can produce reasonably convincing text in almost any subject and style: short essays, computer code, movie scripts, and even limericks. Here’s what ChatGPT produced when I asked it to “write a limerick about artificial intelligence”:

There once was a machine so grand
It could understand any command
With AI so advanced
It seemed quite enhanced
But some thought it was just a sham.

I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t rhyme very well, and my metre is off.

To disaster zones, aid workers flock—
As the rest of us look on in shock—
Helping people in need:
Truly noble indeed.
(Around here, no one tidies our block.)

The bitter-sweet taste, aigre-doux,
Is passable in a French roux,
But it’s a mistake
To eat aigre-doux cake,
So don’t you be too eager to.

One word with an undeserved taint
Is surely the infamous ain’t.
It’s all we have got
To shorten am not,
As amn’t is awfully quaint.

An airbag’s designed to inflate,
Stopping windscreens from hitting your pate.
After all, why be dead?
(Also, Radiohead
Wrote a song of that name. Gee they’re great.)

On a visit to see Nyc,
I stayed at an Airbnb:
A short holiday let
Was a reasonbl bet
For an Internet usr like me.

Airbnb, an online marketplace for B&Bs and holiday homes, was founded in San Francisco in 2008. Its name (pronounced like Air B&B, not Air b’nub) regularly gets applied to the properties rented through it.

An air-breathing creature breathes air.
Such animals—air breathers—care
Not for water to breathe,
And in vacuums they’d seethe;
They like places with atmosphere there.

The remains of this nautilus shell
Show its air chambers; as you can tell,
They’re what keep it afloat.
(Throw it out of the boat,
Son—the rotten thing’s starting to smell.)

To travel by hot-air Balloon
Is a Journey I’d gladly take soon:
Be an Airgonaut, flying
Up high. Why, by trying
Airgonation, one might reach the Moon!

Had the eighteenth-century writer Horace Walpole written limericks, he might have composed this, as his letters are the only source cited for these words (marked “humorous” and “obsolete”) in the Oxford English Dictionary.

An air drain can help prevent damp
By covering walls with an amp-
le enclosed space for draining
Of air. My explaining
Has left me hot-air-drained now, champ.

An air drain is also known as a dry area: a channel around a building’s external walls that allows the free flow of air.

The replacement of cold air by warm
As it drains down a slope, I inform
Using ample explainage,
Is known as air drainage.
For valleys and hills, it’s the norm.

As you see, I’ve already explained
How a valley or hill gets air drained:
Colder air will flow down
Its slopes. No need to frown,
Though, as warmer air, higher ground’s gained.

An Aussie likes short words the most: ’e
Addresses a postman as postie,
A milkman as milko
And—who else of that ilk—oh,
An air hostess: she’s called a hostie.

Don’t take this as in any way current, as the gendered terms postman, milkman and air hostess smack of the 1970s or before; home milk delivery isn’t even a thing in Australia any more. But Australians’ habit of shortening professions and ending them with -o or -ie has proved useful in moving away from gendered terms: postal delivery workers are still routinely called posties and flight attendants are called hosties, whatever their gender.

Other professions nicknamed in this way include ambo, bottle-o, fisho, garbo, journo and medico for ambulance driver, bottle collector (obsolete), fishmonger, garbage collector, journalist and physician, and brickie, firie, pollie, sparky, tradie, truckie and wharfie for bricklayer, firefighter, politician, electrician, tradesman, truck driver, and wharf labourer or stevedore.

Dahling! It’s Charlotte! Yes, Char!
You remember—Art History, yah?
Fancy meeting you here!
Quick, a kiss past your ear—
It’s so lovely to see you! Mwah, mwah!

A few yahz ago I listened to Charlotte and Caroline all the way from London to Edinburgh, telling the entire train carriage about their final exams, their friend Marcus, the wonderful buhk that Char (or was it Car?) was reading, and Car’s (or was it Char’s?) mahvellous new job in New York. I wonder how it went.

They’re scrupulous people, the air police:
Meticulous, careful, and fair police.
No point to contest
Any air force arrest,
So never say, “I wasn’t there, police.”

This message brought to you by your friendly neighborhood APs.

A bird on the wing met a slight
Irritation while trying for height:
“This calamitous fog
Left my chest all a-clog!
But my air sacs are keeping me light.”

To ensure I can stretch out my feet,
I secure, when I’m booking, a seat
By the aeroplane’s aisle.
Tall passengers smile
When their knees and the tray don’t compete.

“Those AJs are A-holes!” “Yeah! Jerks.”
“Yeah, they’re army jerks—that’s how it works.”
“Oh. And A-holes?” “That’s arse.”
“Well, that’s simpler to parse...
Bunch of army-holes, eh, Jay?” (J. smirks.)

An Aussie pissed off about the number of soldiers crowding out his pub might refer to them in this way.

Lookee there: it’s ol’ Jimmy, ajog!
All the neighbours are watching, agog.
There he goes, out the gate,
Down the street, and—no, wait.
Mister Fixx has dropped dead as a log.

Jim Fixx, author of the book that started the jogging craze of the 1970s, died of a heart attack while jogging.

Latest · Africa · Americas · Artists · Oz Rock · Oz Politics · Pacific · Mature · Misc · A-Ab · Ac-Ad · Ae-Af · Ag-Ah · Ai-Aj · Ak-Al · Am-An · Ao-Ap · Aq-Ar · As-At · Au-Av · Aw-Az · Ba-Bd · Be-Bh · Bi-Bn · Bo-Bq · Br-Bt · Bu-Bz · Ca-Cd · Ce-Cg · Ch · Ci-Ck · Cl-Co · Cp-Cr · Cs-Cz · Da-Dd · De-Dh · Di-Dn · Do · Dp-Dr · Ds-Dz · Ea-Ed · Ee-El · Em-En · Eo-Es · Et-Ez · Fa-Fd · Fe-Fh · Fi-Fo · Fp-Ft · Fu-Fz · Ga-Gd · Ge-Gh · Gi-Gk · Gl-Go · Gp-Gr · Gs-Gz · Ha-Hd · He-Hh · Hi-Hn · Ho-Ht