Google and the surreal

Today’s poem-a-day prompt was to take a picture (below, after the poem) and compose a poem about it without using adjectives.

The image, in case it is no longer available, is a sepia-toned one of a boy in Victorian clothing, posed in front of a backdrop with clouds, a curtain and a table holding a book. The boy is standing with one hand on a chair, on which is perched a raven.

The surreal nature of the image made me want to see if I could produce a surreal poem from it. The surrealists used a variety of techniques to produce their works, including automatism and cut-ups. I used an updated version of the latter two by searching for the components of the image in Google UK and then selecting a phrase (without adjectives where possible) from the first twenty suitable result summaries. I then tried to combine bits of those phrases into some form of poetry, the only constraint being that it was grammatically reasonable and read as if it was a poem.

The result was truly weird and not something I’m likely to try again. And, somehow, I just realised, the boy has been erased: interesting and maybe even more surreal Smile.

Antlers in patterns

Antlers in patterns and tutorials
view the background of information
to book a table in the restaurant.
Midnight-got jewels struck a bird
on the side of the mirror.
Castle and bridge were enlisted
to help deliver the plate
with its forest of antlers.

Raven is stalking a look
at the chair for the two of them.
One book to be open for the naturalist.
The fish bowl in the parlour
will thrash in hell with the executed.
In Milan, cars and lorries flew.
The matter of parents causes concern
with the ravine of recent rebels and rash raven.

The image, if it is still available, is:

boy with antlers, raven on chair

The search I entered into was ‘boy with antlers raven on chair book on table clouds backdrop’. And the lines I extracted from the results were:

antlers crafts, patterns and tutorials
You can view background information
To book a table in the restaurant
chex_midnight got their homepage
jewels struck just the right note
a bird on the side of the mirror
castle and bridge in background to left
services were enlisted to help with other
I accordingly deliver the accompanying plate
The forest of antlers fixed and rigid showed

but gave Raven a stalking look
The chair is wide enough for the two of them
one book to be open; also a table or chair
I first became acquainted with the naturalist
The fish bowl in the parlor is near the center
thrash the hell out of said willows
executed last year in Milan
Cars and Lorries flew by, dangerously close
any concern this matter causes parents
rascal, rash, raven, ravine, rebel, recent

Posted on April 13, 2011, in Poetry and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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