No solitude in the caves of spring
A twenty-six line alliterative poem composed by a machine
Entry for National Poetry Generation Month 2017
Using PyTorch, I trained a recursive neural network character-by-character on a collection of 65 public domain naturalist guides and essays, and directed it to produce new sentences favoring one starting letter. The “final” poem below is a composite of several runs, with small edits applied to punctuation and a few stray words removed:
No solitude in the caves of spring
Ants and all ages are all about—active as
buds are bound by black, bubbles burn by maple blackbird body, but burst before birds before building branches back.
Creatures—clearly considered—carved colors, covered curves, comparatively called cheerful, conveniences containing changing, crowding companions.
Distinct, and the deeper distance of the sea which they do not describe.
Earth exhausted every egg, else entered existence with enough effort (except each early evolution), so everywhere is edible.
Fight for flowers from far—for they feed.
Glaciers grew in the gloomy gardens; grow to note that grave glade, that ally, but growing grasses gracefully between glared grassy green-gray.
Here, however, he had happened; here he had held her hidden hands.
It is seen in its present strange way, in its considerable
joy, in every picture just before and just in June between the joining season, which they judge to
kill the stars, as we know that the knowledge knows a kind of evening, of keen keep in kind.
Land straight, like legs looking,
many miles with more sharp mountains, and making more that the most moment may be ever found between, as being much of houses as me that the mind be made or strangers at my bright market.
No nation, nor new notes, now never needed, not noticed, nor necessary near the nose of nature.
Occasionally an old olive on one of our own spring, observed only once, only over others,
pressed plants perched pictures. Pale peaks pouring: the palm-trees that proved place placed performance, provided part pebbles and passes perfect; but perhaps principally preserve perpetual poets.
Quickly, quieted, quite: and the birds resemble the system of quails but if they quest, we too but so with its question—
River: of recognizing rivers, referring reflecting and returning (related to recognition) rolled round right roots.
Some species spring several, some so short, strange strains.
There the tall third thing! There they travel, the trees through till they too, top them.
Upward to us, used upon us, uncommonly useful unless unable under with sometimes, usually, unfortunately, it’s under a uniform united universe.
Variations of very various volumes, natural visitors, have ended from the vast valleys
when we were wanting, when we were without wide wild waters.
You are the part of the great season, and you have been seen many years and from far way to your present beauty that is much in your
zest, and one that then failed to cry with them over the nervous world.
Unsurprisingly, the model had a lot of trouble finding sentences to start with X, and after a while of trying to get it to output xylophone or whatever I let it do what it wanted, which was to give me a Roman numeral section break.
More surprising to me (though obvious in retrospect) was how hard it was to get a good A— sentence, as there are just too many opportunities to produce long sequences of “and a as also.” P— and B— produced some of the longest intelligible sequences.
The title comes from my favorite single line generated by the model, some unrestricted text it output during training:
Little pine sparrow—he was so high up in the fine land, but we have no solitude in the caves of spring.
I also liked:
Possibly pierced, perhaps part potato.
The best poems tended to be emitted after just a few epochs; after that the output becomes boring as it predicts the most common words all the time (“One of over of on ore”).
Here’s an unedited run from its moments of peak creativity:
And the woods are so far as ale and instinct as the same much to be ally are almost entice of
But the being been all the bark between being by between by beauty before some of them become better but before .
Common to the sea can consider considerable that contain of carried composition.
Discovered and so far down to the spring of deep water and the first drown of down to describe different frequently in des .
Even which we should expect the species of the earth and burning in of elves everywhere in and
Forming from five feet from the stream finds ,followed for falling for the first forms and because which we find
Grass growing the great green and grasses of the stream.
Having here his body and the short of his hands have been heard him to he had been him to he had her higher than high here.
In its streams in its probable
Just ,may just through the hunters, and joy of the jacks had to their tongue.
Keeps and light to the sun, and the grass so are so not in they know that they prove to as known as for are hardly sing of single, it is all kinds in color of food, senses fail from seems high colour some kind on keeping with over on will changes which have
Long and striking like the lent creatures, and which are so little with the latter from with to land deep ere freeze led in plants, logical life.
Marketing moss and best the little birds of the most marked mountains, and many more than may be as much more than being .
Natural selection for the of the rest of numerous marks and beauty being and feet are not nothing not in different species.
Or sometimes of our own form of species, or on one on our own and observed omen other
Produces, and the procession of presence of the production from parts plants.
Quick sea quarters of more quickly funny, but they quite which bears is the skin gathering up the sun’s nest which seems their green, and was and fruit so to see depending, in question for quickened by describe time.
Recently readily the results of the part of right and reaching .
Striped to spring and seed so some season single.
The most important that the time they are will that they are elves to .
Until the world is us in the stream of us, under as we saw use of great pines and under bushy upon face which are not only and using with are short form
Very long and very views of the valley varieties of various in virgin variations value and the most which forms are .
Which we were in which we were seen with able way with old while ere use was the work elves
Xx, and we shall in the way and the infinite constant song.
Yet as well as years of the it is surround the meadow of and so compare at be about more standing and with which you see you to .
Zoölogy, the streams of the same stream with and ,but it is on and as they were considered in with present of ere are all seems to be found in .
(I do not know why it got so excited about elves.)
- On the Seashore, by R. Cadwallader Smith
- In the Catskills, by John Burroughs, et al
- Studies of Trees by J. J. Levison, M.F.
- Some Winter Days in Iowa, by Frederick John Lazell
- Trees, Fruits and Flowers of Minnesota, 1916, by Various
- Some Spring Days In Iowa, by Frederick John Lazell
- Some Summer Days in Iowa, by Frederick John Lazell
- A Book of Natural History, by David Starr Jordan.
- The Breath of Life, by John Burroughs.
- The Story of My Boyhood and Youth, by John Muir
- Nature Near London, by Richard Jefferies
- Hand Book of the Trees of New England, by Lorin L Dame and Henry Brooks.
- My Studio Neighbors, by William Hamilton Gibson.
- Woodland Tales, by Ernest Thompson Seton.
- Charley’s Museum, by Unknown.
- Country Walks of a Naturalist with His Children, by Rev. W. Houghton.
- The Naturalist on the River Amazons by Henry Walter Bates
- The Western World, by W.H.G. Kingston
- Birds of the Rockies, by Leander Sylvester Keyser
- Adventures of a Young Naturalist, by Lucien Biart.
- Birds from Coahuila, Mexico, by Emil K. Urban
- Our Bird Comrades, by Leander S. (Leander Sylvester) Keyser
- The Log of the Sun, by William Beebe.
- The Heart of Nature, by Sir Francis Younghusband
- Little Masterpieces Of Science, The Naturalist as Interpreter and Seer, Edited by George Iles.
- Ways of Nature, by John Burroughs.
- Old Plymouth Trails, by Winthrop Packard.
- A Year in the Fields, by John Burroughs.
- Birds and Bees, by John Burroughs
- The Pond, by Carl Ewald.
- The Hills and the Vale, by Richard Jefferies; an eBook from Project Gutenberg
- Mammals of Northwestern South Dakota, by Kenneth W. Andersen And J. Knox Jones, Jr..
- Old Farm Fairies, A Summer Campaign in Brownieland Against King Cobweaver’s Pixies, by Henry Christopher McCook.
- The Forest Habitat Of The University Of Kansas Natural History Reservation, by Henry S. Fitch And Ronald L. McGregor.
- The Nature Of Animal Light, by E. Newton Harvey.
- Selected Records of Reptiles and Amphibians from Kansas, by John Breukelman and Hobart M. Smith.
- In New England Fields And Woods, by Rowland E. Robinson.
- Wild Life in a Southern County, by Richard Jefferies
- The Adventures of a Grain of Dust, by Hallam Hawksworth.
- Eye Spy, by William Hamilton Gibson.
- Everyday Adventures, by Samuel Scoville, Jr.
- Pastoral Days, by W. Hamilton Gibson.
- The Pageant of Summer
- The Spring of the Year, by Dallas Lore Sharp
- Summer, by Dallas Lore Sharp
- Winter, by Dallas Lore Sharp
- The Fall of the Year, by Dallas Lore Sharp
- The Face of the Fields, by Dallas Lore Sharp
- In the Open, by Stanton Davis Kirkham.
- The Sea Shore, by W. S. Furneaux
- The Desert World, by Arthur Mangin.
- The Sea-beach at Ebb-tide, by Augusta Foote Arnold.
- The Making of Species, by Douglas Dewar and Frank Finn
- Fresh Fields, by John Burroughs
- Collecting and Preserving, by J. E. Taylor and 12 Other Authors
- Spring Notes from Tennessee, by Bradford Torrey.
- The Mentor: American Naturalists by Ernest Ingersoll
- Life in the Shifting Dunes, by Laurence B. White, Jr.>/a>
- Life and Habit, by Samuel Butler
- Glaucus, by Charles Kingsley
- The Open Air, by Richard Jefferies
- Richard Jefferies - Field and Hedgerow
- Travels in Alaska by John Muir
- Birds in Town and Village, by Hudson
- The Naturalist on the Thames
- My Garden Acquaintance, by James Russell Lowell