Skip to content


September 23, 2009

TranslationParty has been eating my time recently. The things it spits out are about 90% inane, but the other 10% are absolute gold, so I have been feeding it everything I can think of in a bid to find those elusive scraps of genius. And up till recently, it seemed like the hits were coming more or less at random.

And then a friend and fellow English student – let’s call him Seamus: although his name isn’t Seamus, I’ve used this pseudonym for him elsewhere – discovered that if you include line breaks (/) when inputting poetry, TP keeps them but moves them around semi-randomly, allowing you to re-lineate the output. He illustrated this with the following, which he alleges to be a quotation from Hamlet:

Meat and
or blue sky itself – the thickness of my sweet brother
Ranaku insufficient rain
cursed with the blood of beautiful white
snow like this?

As I said to him, it reads like goth poetry written by a demented Imagist. It’s bizarre. But it’s also sufficiently intriguing and funny that I started putting all sorts of other bits of Shakespeare into TP in an effort to get similarly bizarre results. And it turned out that for line-broken Renaissance blank verse, the hilarity hit rate (at least if you’re a deeply geeky English student who finds bad free verse inherently funny) skyrockets. The following gems are, respectively, from The Tempest, Macbeth, Hamlet, As You Like It, Richard III, Julius Caesar, and Sonnet 116:

The almost-haiku:

So far, o’erthrown
And I, what their strengths
This is I am an attractive dark:

The other almost-haiku:

Shadow, living alone is a bad player,
Furettosuteji people post their own time
I, please, thank you. Walking further contact.

The Imagist on hallucinogens:

If the arrow in the sea, TIS is
main ‘
royal wealth and
or side arm,
or nasal problems such as pain or stoned or what?

The spam email:

Stage of the world
Just register and almost all male and female players
lot number I
1 hour
1995 can be renewed annually.

The surprisingly good (I’m a little reminded of Wallace Stevens):

Currently, the winter of our discontent
summer of glory, was held in New York Sun;
And all the clouds, our house lour’d
was buried deep in the bosom of the sea.

The Time Team forensics interpretation:

Friends, the Romans, the researchers, lend me your ear
I’ve been buried in his praise Caesar. He
life, after the biotechnology;
or more bones buried;
So, please tell Caesar.

And this, this is amazing. This is like a love poem written by a robot – and I at least find it bizarrely touching. That last line is heartbreaking:

I have a real mind
To get married, let the server barriers. Love
remove, or order
love be found disabled: Change, change, delete.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. S. G. permalink
    September 24, 2009 3:57 pm

    I love that last one. It reads like a revelation of Shakespeare’s underlying meaning: “Let me not to the marriage of true minds…” says Shakespeare’s pen loftily, while the man behind it muses optimistically, “I have a real mind / To get married…” before ruefully concluding “love be found disabled: Change, change, delete.”

    This from the Merchant of Venice:

    I a gaping pig, and some, please some cat
    see below
    If not, the pipes, i ‘the nose and singing, he is angry
    the urine of these men obtained contains love

    And this is the very same passage, with the single alteration that the n has been added in to make i’ into in:

    I was gaping like some wild boar. See the bottom of the nose and some other songs
    cat and
    And the anger of their urine

  2. S. G. permalink
    September 25, 2009 2:45 pm


    The crowd, photos, these black
    Like the ghost of a branch of a dirty face.

    — Ezra Pound


    Their breakfast plates in basement kitchens, the threat
    and tread along the edge of the street
    I know the souls of housemaids and moisture
    sprout depressed area at the gate.

    Throw up to me in brown waves of fog
    down the street from the twisted faces,
    And the tears skirt covered in mud from passersby
    aimless smile, the floating air
    roof level and disappear along.

    — T. S. Eliot

  3. S. G. permalink
    September 25, 2009 6:01 pm

    We were killing the earth
    This 58-21 discursive space, one, one or two cases, the children, his last two,
    all three are selected one by one accident
    Who we are – the world or the next show coming?

    — Seneca

  4. William permalink
    September 25, 2009 10:59 pm

    I was her condiment saffron, I learn more about mad cow disease and poisoning last night and was fascinated by the news of Saffron care of someone. Call me mellow yellow. It is very natural.

  5. nanci permalink
    September 28, 2009 7:20 pm

    for some reason, I keep putting these / but nothing happens

  6. wickedday permalink
    September 29, 2009 11:25 am

    That’s mysterious. I’ve been inputting stuff in this format, if it helps –

    Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? / Thou art more lovely and more temperate; / Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, / And summer’s lease hath all too short a date;

    and getting things out looking like this:

    What time is the Sun Inata? / More beautiful than thou temperate; Mon / 5, a rough wind, wave, 1 / Nevertheless, I was in the summer, I love short-term release of the next shot.

    It seems to keep the line breaks if you put a space before and after. I’m sorry about the trouble 🙂

  7. S. G. permalink
    October 8, 2009 12:42 pm

    War of hunger
    war of hunger

    in the throes of
    lock or unlock
    open some two eagle nests, two of the loss of two brothers split the file in one of the two voices 2 of the demonstration to prevent the second one

    — Aeschylus

    Yes, I’m still fascinated by this.

  8. S. G. permalink
    November 3, 2009 5:41 pm

    I was in my room, it was. Please please please please tell me my age. Remember. Falling on the roof: Doors sad rain: This is a melancholy sound visionary.
    — Dombey and Son, Charles Dickens


  1. The Cento Generator « This Wicked Day
  2. Found haiku « This Wicked Day

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s