As most people know, I am no poet. Once or twice I have tried to be poetic, but quickly I have come to the conclusion that poetry is one of those things - like singing, painting, acting, cooking, gardening, ice-skating, and shot-putting - that I was never intended to do. There are so many talented poets out there, my time is much better occupied in reading their works rather than attempting to compete with them. If you live next door to Picasso, don't paint your window sills: that's what I say.
But that doesn't stop me from playing with the words of others, and one of my favourite ways of doing that is via the wonderfully inventive medium of on-line machine translation. This particular game is easy to play. Simply take a well known verse, for example the opening lines of that splendid song, "Danny Boy". Take those lines and feed them into one of the many free, on-line translation sites (for example Google Translate). Translate them from English to Chinese, then from Chinese to Yiddish, from Yiddish to Hindi, Hindi to Japanese, and then finally back from Japanese to English. What you come up with is a kind of psychedelic anthem, a surrealistic ballad, an odd Irish Air.
The original verse goes as follows:-
"Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer's gone, and all the roses falling
'Tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide".
Repeated machine translation changes it with the subtlety of a fine pencil, infusing it with just enough mystery to make it exotic.
"Oh, Danny Boy pipes, pipes are calling
Downhill side of the valley
Disappears and summer, all rose the drop
Tea, I do not have to wait to go, "Tease" You are".
Oh Google Translate, tease indeed you are.