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Generate Love Poetry for Your Valentine With Your Computer

Updated on August 12, 2013

HubPages is home to many poets. Some are consumed with angst, others searching for themselves.

I often see poetry as a melange of words hurled at the page, as if Jackson Pollock were working with words instead of blotches of paint. Admittedly, the poems you see on HubPages are generally a tad more logical than Pollock's Number 26 (1951). But I still see a splatter of words.

If that's all there is to it, then there must be a better way to generate poetry. Enter the computer.

Source

Surprisingly—or perhaps not—one of the world's first computers, the Ferranti Mark 1, was used to generate love poetry in late 1951. Christopher Strachey (1916-1975), a mathematician, entered hundreds of romantic words into the machine and turned it loose. Often the machine generated nonsense. Strachey and his colleagues posted some of its better efforts on a notice board. Here is an example:

YOU ARE MY LOVESICK HEART. MY EROTIC PASSION WANTS YOUR AVID ADORATION. MY ADORATION WISTFULLY IS WEDDED TO YOUR FERVENT PASSION. YOU ARE MY LOVELY ENCHANTMENT. MY FONDNESS AFFECTIONATELY PANTS FOR YOUR CURIOUS ADORATION.

Inspired by these words, I harnessed the power of the internet to create three romantic poems. Before I show you the results, let's take a quick look at the machine that created the first computer-generated poetry.

Poetry can seem like Jackson Pollock dripped words on a canvas.
Poetry can seem like Jackson Pollock dripped words on a canvas. | Source

The Ferranti Mark 1

The Ferranti Mark 1 evolved from the Manchester Mark 1, which was created by a team at Manchester University in England. The group developed a series of stored-program electronic computers from 1947 until 1977 under the direction of Tom Kilburn (1921-2001). Work started on the Mark 1 in August 1948. An operational machine was built in April 1949.

The Manchester Mark 1 “Baby” was designed to test the Williams tube, an early form of computer memory. The Baby ran its first program on June 21, 1948. Never meant to be a practical computer, it was quickly succeeded by the Manchester Mark 1, and by early 1951 this machine was eclipsed by the Ferranti Mark 1, the first commercial, general-purpose electronic computer, developed by Ferranti International under contract to the United Kingdom government.

The Baby was 17 feet long and over seven feet high. It weighed a ton. It soon evolved into the Manchester Mark 1. The Baby's RAM held 32 words, expandable to 8,192 words, and ran an instruction in 1.2 milliseconds. That translates to 833 instructions per second. My iMac runs 1.2 billion instructions in that time. The Baby could execute a set of seven instructions. Input and output was on paper tape. The Ferranti Mark 1 had similar specifications.

Generating Poetry in the Internet Age

It's a bit easier to generate poetry today. The internet abounds with websites that will do the work for you. Some are almost totally random, making for a cumbersome process. Your valentine may wait a long time for a suitable, syrupy love poem in this case. Other sites allow the user to plug words into a canned poem, making the process fast, at the price of creativity.

Here are three poems I generated on the internet. How do you like them? The sites I used are noted after each poem. I rather fancy Dark Love.

My Love

Your skin glows like the peach, blossoms lissome as the rose in the purest hope of spring.

My heart follows your lyre voice and leaps like a fox at the whisper of your name.
The evening floats in on a great dove wing.
I am comforted by your handkerchief that I carry into the twilight of moonbeams and hold next to my heart.
I am filled with hope that I may dry your tears of wine.
As my heart falls from my sweater, it reminds me of your burden.
In the quiet, I listen for the last whisper of the day.
My heated arm leaps to my pants. I wait in the moonlight for your secret desire so that we may walk as one, arm to arm, in search of the magnificent brown and mystical tree of love.

Created with the Love Poem Generator.

What's Your Favorite?

Which poem do you like best?

See results

My Love

slink forward
crave nirvana to take cloudy autumn
ceiling fan slowly turns
your shadow is trickling slowly

only if I stray

somebody beguiling
about you.

Created with Make a Poem!.

Dark Love

It is a night of dark desire, a song of sorrow,
wolves vent their loneliness. The beautiful one wakens.

Mist shrouds her pale form,
a timeless desire.

Her silken hair cascades over
fragile milk-white shoulders, and her
full crimson lips part slightly, to taste the
soul streaming from the
pale flesh beneath her.

Now a night of ecstasy,
I thirst.

Created with the The Goth-O-Matic Poetry Generator.

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    • giocatore profile image
      Author

      giocatore 5 years ago

      Judging by the poems I generated, the computer has a ways to go yet on the emotional side. Cheers!

    • DezmondDiz profile image

      DezmondDiz 5 years ago from United States

      Fascinating. Its so interesting, why would they want a computer for this sole purpose, and back then before the circuit I think? Thanks for this. Will computers ever know emotion? I don't think so, not without water conductivity is my theory anyway!

    • giocatore profile image
      Author

      giocatore 5 years ago

      My Love #1 suffers a bit from the line, "My heated arm leaps to my pants". I do think that a person might not appreciate an ode to love generated by a computer. It's interesting that when I start to research something I often learn something that I didn't anticipate, such as the history of computing. Cheers!

    • Zac828 profile image

      Zac828 5 years ago from England

      This is great and a really interesting history too. Not sure about the idea of a computer creating love poems, it's all about emotion and my PC certainly doesn't care about me!!!

      As for which one is best? There are some great lines in My Love #1, 'like In the quiet, I listen for the last whisper of the day'. What a beautiful line, may use that!

      But I agree, Dark Love is by far the best.

      Useful idea and great hub to read, thanks for sharing.