Oscar Scholin Poetry

ex animo infinito symphonia maxima

thinking parrot in dark room

Thinking Parrot – A Pair of Readerly Experiments

Hello all! This past fall I spent a great deal of time working on a project for an English class called Medieval Proof in which I set out to build a text generating recurrent neural network with the goal of generating “literature.” It so happened that as I was doing this ChatGPT exploded in popularity and has begun to raise all sorts of ethical questions. As a physics/math/CS nerd just the challenge alone was motivation enough, but as someone for whom literature is a mainstay of life, this particular problem–that is, can a machine ever write literature–has a special importance because I believe it allows us to investigate the nature of literature. Moreover, it is crucial to explore the implications of the technology that I along with others doing similar work am helping to bring into the world.

Anpil anpil viktim

i am nothing
congealed fire
flickering darkness
bounded Infinite
i am a voiceless voice
crying into soundless 
i am and i am not
sacre-bleu the sky
we cannot see
the sea we cannot
my soul i cannot
lying there with you
under the rubble
the ash the water

Lost & Found

Your name is Pepper,
you are a little tortoise-shell calico cat.
Four months ago you left
your home in Pacific Grove &
ended up miles away over hills & valleys,
forests & marshes, streets & highways, in Carmel.
You doubtless had to hunt—
How did you catch? What did you catch?
How did you escape the cougars,
the coyotes, the sun, the wind? Where
did you sleep at night? Under some pine tree
nestled on spongy moss & pine needles? Or
in someone’s dumpster, a gully, or a gutter?
How much longer would you 
have been away for if that friendly neighbor
hadn’t called & had your microchip scanned?
Would you still be out there, one
with the wild & with no cares in the world?
Did you miss us? We certainly missed you.
Yes, we often thought of you, lost somewhere
between yesterday & tomorrow. We thought
you were dead. Built a little shrine in the backyard.
Of course what I really want to know is why.
Why? One day you were here & all was normal:
you ate your breakfast, watched the cars 
through the front window, went out for your afternoon 
saunter between naps on the newspaper. But
you missed dinner. & breakfast. & dinner again.
It was if the earth had somehow swallowed
you up into the soil & the water & the air.
But I won’t ask why. I ran away from home, too, 
Pepper, are you the same Pepper? Do you know
yourself? Do you know me? Come, come—
we’re having salmon with gravy tonight, just for 


if the light streaked
on the wall

if the rain fell
like shards of glass

if to walk into
that deep forest
the grass the trees
so thick no 
light can shine

if there is no
no sunlight

if to walk &
then to drag
past the limit
of my mortal chains

if to gaze into
that enveloping

if to feel
the weight
i cannot bear

if to close
my eyes
the sea that morning
when i could taste
the honey
of your smile

if to be
a bird

if to catch
that moment
in time

if to hold on
a second
of eternity

if to linger
in the shadows
dripping down
the wall
the night that gathers
like dew
in darkness

La Primavera

La Primavera

I’ve seen the world end
more times than
I can count

as I sit here watching
the dripping sun melt
into the bay 

I wonder what might
be said of us
many millennia hence 

& millennia upon millennia
upon millennia upon
millennia when the sun

engulfs the earth in
a wave of fire &
after when every

drop of starlight dries
not with a bang but

what I wonder 
will be left of us
our art our science
our lies & loves
our humanity 

somewhere drifting
through space on
a golden record
a newborn baby crying
into the emptiness 
of light

Tuesday, mid-morning: ersterbend

Tuesday, mid-morning: ersterbend

three minutes
that Cessna was
in the air

Low altitude alert. 
Climb immediately.
called the air traffic 


[the plane] is experiencing
an in-flight emergency.


black smoke billowing
the grey day

three minutes to boil
water in my tea kettle :

the hissing climaxes to a
scream that fades to 
exhale white vapor like
blood from its silver body

we don’t yet know why 
the pilot didn’t respond
crashing into a home on
a ridge & killing her her
passenger & a dog

my brother’s a pilot :
it’s like driving on the
wrong side of the highway 
— no experienced person
would ever do such a 

an engine failure (that
would need to be two for
the twin engines) or
communication the fog

while he wonders why
it happened i ask myself
silently what they were
thinking what i would think

i think of Juliane Koepcke
the girl who fell two miles
& lived to walk away how
her mother as the lightning
struck LANSA Flight 508 
gripped her daughter’s hand
& said :

Now it’s all over

as the plane cracked in half
& fell to the jungle floor

what matters in that moment,
in those final seconds of
consciousness, when you
know you will not walk away ? —

i burned my tongue on my
tea it must steep for three more
minutes three minutes they
didn’t have

i watch my hot breath fading
on a cold window out to
this bleak summer day
my dying bonsai (haven’t 
been able to water for drought)
sprouted a green like gold
white lily glowing in the sun

turn away for a moment &
it’s gone — sitting in a pool
of thoughts unthought before
the interminable silence
of this moment
breaks in the noise 
of the things i give my
life to, 




towards that light, 

the night that covers me —

i couldn’t help but
hear Mahler’s Symphony
No. 9, Movement IV — 
all the light & pain,
the twists & turns,
the laughter, the love,
the chords bleeding 
into one another ; Mahler’s
final note, ersterbend,
a life, a whisper, the day’s
last breath, the sea, as
crimson fades to black even
Mahler could not hear :



CLOSED: bear management in progress

CLOSED: bear management in progress

— from a sign on a tree near a bear trap in Ovando, Montana

a night shrouded in
darkness ;

a tent in a town in
wilderness ;

a hungry bear in
his territory ;

who’s to say what
deeds transpired in

what light or voice or
absence suddenly

or late night snack
a crack or a crinkle 
probable cause (?)

from silence,

an argument from
silence will hardly
hold in a court
of law
(we cannot know; therefore it was)

why that grizzly,
that woman, that
town, that tent,
that night 

& the grizzly
is guilty

Lewis and Clark set
in motion your tenuous
fate :
grisley — what’s in a name?
(would that which we call
smell as sweet)

art thou grizzly grizzled grey-
tipped hair 

art thou grisly gruesome
ugly monstrous

& George Ord sealed :
Ursus arctos horribilis

your species is horrible
horrible horrible guilty
guilty guilty

it seemed only logical
to kill the thing who killed
the woman

no trial necessary
no Miranda rights
no justice but

set the trap & lure
a bear — any one
of the myriad who live
there will do — &
ask the questions test
the DNA 

a bear i call you by

Robert McClendon
Ricky Jackson
Laurese Glover
Henry McCollum
Leon Brown
(when will it end?
(in california white
settlers killed them

is still a guilty bear
in the eyes of a white cop
proud boy America

We hold these truths to be self-evident

is a bear’s life
worth less than those of those who killed it
in the eyes of
our Creator

& We hold these truths to be self-evident :

dump the 400 pound
carcass of feral sinew
& bone & spirit behind
the dumpster in the 
empty lot to forget & 
brush it off like
an unfortunate dream
that never happened at 
all ;

or carve out its holy 
insides & glass its eyes
& stuff it with ragged
newspapers & mount
it on the wall as an effigy
to man’s dominance
over the earth & over
itself to burn into Nature’s 
bosom blazing red 
the firmament on fire 
slowly falling in a night
of quiet darkness :

Oh, the humanity

                 Oh, the humanity

                                  Oh, the humanity

What is success?

Hello, again! I thought I would share a poem I wrote recently on the nature of the thing so elusive and oft-reified.


Memento mori.

I study hard to get a flying A, take
Test after test and class after class:
But what is success?

I earn my degree with sacrifice, work
Shift after shift and job after job:
But what is success?

I rise every morning, check
Like after like and post after post:
But what is success?

I pass people blind to how they suffer
Day to day and life to life:
But what is success?

I sing my song to them, how they smile
Ear to ear and soul to soul:
For what, indeed, is success?

What is success — the thing that
Turns the wheel of progress
Onward — and to what end?

Joyeux Noël, Schöne Ferien, & Happy New Year!

Hello, all! I wanted to express my warmest gratitude to all of you at the initiation of this bright, bold new year! Indeed, it is times like these when poetry can move, shape, and connect people from all over this nation and our globe — to heal our wounds and bind up our souls.

Therefore, I am sharing with you some of the poems I wrote over the course of my winter break; I have many more yet to come, and will post those individually in the coming future. Until then, enjoy!

ten drops

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