That, believe it or not, was a poem written last night by the mighty Independent computer.
The thing was, I had been reading Andrew Motion's poem on England's World Cup triumph, and I had thought, frankly, that it could be improved on, on the grounds that it wasn't very good. If you didn't see it, here are the first five lines:
Motion said that he took so long to write the poem because he couldn't think of a rhyme for "Wilkinson". That's as may be. What is more surprising is that it seems he couldn't think of any other verse form except the limerick. . .
Well, having fed our computer a match report, plus samples of other poet laureates, and having then asked it to come up with a new verse, I am pleased to report it took only five seconds to write the opening snatch. Mark you, I couldn't quite see why the above sample could be called rugby verse, till I suddenly realised that it was full of names of players in the squad. Woodman, Back, Hill, Bracken, etc. Very clever! But not very much about rugby.
So I asked it to try again. There was a bit of buzzing and electronic belching, then this appeared:
There was a pause, then before I could stop it, this fragment emerged:
‘Yes, yes,’ I said impatiently. ‘Enough of that. But what about that rhyme for Wilkinson?’
There was another slight pause, then this came out:
I turned it off then. There is only so much computer verse a chap can take.