My contribution to @The_School’s celebration of Poetry Month: “If We All Were Robots” by Jaymie Gerard

Our current duo of librarians at The School at Columbia University are Nadine Renazile and Talia Neffson.

As per previous years, The School celebrates National Poetry Month by having students and faculty read poems every morning over the intercom system. Shel Silverstein is a popular choice.

Nadine poked her head around the door (her space shares a wall with the Educational Technology Department’s office) and asked if anyone wanted to read a poem with a technology theme. I searched for poems about robots, and after reading a bunch aloud to Dylan Ryder, we settled on If We All Were Robots by Jaymie Gerard.

If we all were robots
Instead of girls and boys
Maybe we’d have humans
To play with as our toys

We’d keep them in our closets

And take them out for games

We’d dress them up in little clothes

And give them funny names

We’d take them to the marketplace
We’d take them to the pool
We’d listen to them singing songs
And send them off to school

We’d see them getting taller

We’d help them as they grow

We’d wish that they’d get smaller

But they don’t do that, you know

They’d grow up to be astronauts
And presidents and kings
We’d pretend that we were humans
So we could do human-like things

So we might as well be humans

If we ever get the choice

‘Cause who’d want to be robots

When we could be girls or boys?

Dylan and I simultaneously had the idea to have the computer read the poem aloud using the voice of Alex, the most human of the text-to-speech accessibility options in the Mac OS. I had to add inauthentic punctuation to change Alex’s cadence, but here’s the finished product (just close your eyes)…

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