25 January 2013

poetry + ponderings on google

The strangest thing just happened: I decided, here at the end of this wintry week, that I needed a poem, a sparse, pared down reminder of the beauty that exists all around us in this world.

And honest-to-goodness, I decided to test the powers of Google. Sometimes I like to see if the machine really does know everything. I searched for "I just want a poem."

But you know how Google tries to guess ahead to what you want, based on what other people are searching for, and I don't know, maybe based on what you've searched for in the past and other websites you've visited?

These are the auto-fill options that came up:
  • I just want a boyfriend: I assume these people will be directed to eHarmony.
  • I just want my pants back: You'll probably end up on Gap.com or JCrew.com. Or on Craigslist to post what will certainly not be the most bizarre posting on that site ever.
  • I just want to ride bikes with you: Okay, but you probably should ask me in person and not when it's winter and has just snowed. Also I bet the next thing you google is: "I just wish I owned a bike."
  • I just want you to know who I am: You should probably start a blog. It's a good way to tell people things about yourself that they might not want to know.
I want this to be an insight into the soul of America, but I doubt it is, and it did give me a pick-me-up on this cold afternoon. As did this poem, which I did eventually find, after being distracted by bikes and pants.

I Taught Myself to Live Simply
Anna Akhmatova

I taught myself to live simply and wisely,
to look at the sky and pray to God,
and to wander long before evening
to tire my superfluous worries.
When the burdocks rustle in the ravine
and the yellow-red rowanberry cluster droops
I compose happy verses
about life's decay, decay and beauty.
I come back. The fluffy cat
licks my palm, purrs so sweetly
and the fire flares bright
on the saw-mill turret by the lake.
Only the cry of a stork landing on the roof
occasionally breaks the silence.
If you knock on my door
I may not even hear.


  1. The Green Brothers have several videos about Google autocomplete. These are my favorites:


    1. These make me so happy.

      Also, I just totally tried googling "Is Kamiah Walker..." and there was no autocomplete. Of course there wasn't.



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