> However, the TikZ examples I have seen are way more verbose while still as cryptic as xy-pic.
Yeah, probably. When I said TikZ was "more powerful", I merely meant that you can draw lots of stuff with TikZ that you can't draw with xy-pic, like this:
My student [Aaron Lauda](http://www-bcf.usc.edu/~lauda/xy/) pushed xy-pic to its limits and got it to draw things like this:
but it took huge amounts of work and he later regretted spending so much time on it.
I think the best approach is to get someone else to do the drawing for you.