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colorless green ideas

The results of a competition held several
 years ago at Stanford:

  Date: Wed 30 Oct 85 23:02:50-PST
  Subject: Colourless Green Ideas

          [Excerpted from the Stanford bboard by [log in to unmask]]

 For the Literary competition set on Christmas Eve you were asked to compose
 not more than 100 words of prose, or 14 lines of verse, in which a sentence
 described as grammatically acceptable but without meaning did, in the event,
become meaningful.  The sentence, devised by Noam Chomsky, was:

 colourless green ideas sleep furiously.

 [...]  Competitors rose to this challenge good-humouredly and in force....

  It can only be the thought of verdure to come, which prompts us in the
autumn
 to buy these dormant white lumps of vegetable matter covered by a brown
 papery skin, and lovingly to plant them and care for them.  It is a marvel
 to me that under this cover they are labouring unseen at such a rate
 within to give us the sudden  awesome beauty of spring flowering bulbs.
   While winter reigns the earth reposes but these colourless green ideas
 sleep furiously.

                 C. M. Street

 Behold the pent-up power of the winter tree;
 Leafless it stands, in lifeless slumber.
 Yet its very resting is revival and renewal:
 Inside the dark gnarled world of trunk and roots,
 Cradled in the chemistry of cell and sap,
 Colourless green ideas sleep furiously
 In deep and dedicated doormancy,
 Concentrating, conserving, constructing:
 Knowing, by some ancient quantum law
 Of chlorophyll and sun
 That come the sudden surge of spring,
 Dreams become reality, and ideas action.

                 Bryan O. Wright

 Let us think on them, the Twelve Makers
 Of myths, trailblazing quakers
 Scourging earthshakers
 Colourless green ideas sleep furiously
 Before their chrysalides open curiously
 Anarchy burgeons spuriously
 Order raises new seedlings in the world
 By word and gun upheld
 The scarlet banner is unfurled
 The New Country appears
 Man loosens his fears
 The New Dawn nears
 Recollect our first fathers
 The good society in momentum gathers.

                 ("recently discovered sonnet by Alexander Blok")
                 translated by Edward Black

 [...]

 (and the winner:)
 (got 50 lbs.)

 Thus Adam's Eden-plot in far-off time:
 Colour-rampant fowers, trees a myriad green;
 Helped by God-bless'd wind and temp'rate clime.
 The path to primate knowledge unforseen,
 He sleeps in peace at eve with Eve.
 One apple later, he looks curiously
 At the gardens of dichromates, in whom
 colourless green ideas sleep furiously
 then rage for birth each morning, until doom
 Brings rainbows they at last perceive.

                 D. A. H. Byatt



---  ` ,, ` ,, ` ,, `  ` ,~->
Hanuman "Mister Sinister" Zhang, Sloth-Style Gungfu Typist
- "the sloth is a chinese poet upsidedown" --- Jack Kerouac {1922-69}
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"One thing foreigners, computers, & poets have in common
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is most poetic when inventing languages. Hence the concept of the poet as
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