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“Roses are red / violets are blue,” probably the most famous and basic opening in all of poetry, is a perfect fit for Twitter. It clocks in at far fewer than 140 characters and is formulaic enough to subvert for laughs.
Weird Twitter went through a fruitful “roses are red” phase back in early 2015, but twisting a rhyme that dates back to the 16th century isn’t exactly an internet meme. A meme, yes, but not one particular to the internet and social media.
A more recent mutation, though, is possible only in the contemporary garbage heap of online. Check it: A variation of “roses are red / violets are blue” is followed a screengrab of a headline or a YouTube video title that completes the rhyme and serves as the punchline.
But the trend has been building for some time, and seems to be reaching a peak:
The rise of Roses Are Red #content has been aided by an account, launched in August, called No Chill Poetry. It’s entirely dedicated to the format.
Prominent Twitter botmaker Darius Kazemi observed this joke template reaching critical mass this week and realized it doesn’t take a human to fill it in. His new @rosesareredbot writes poems and finds headlines to cap them off. The results are often funnier than what a human would come up with:
But the bot will be hard pressed to write anything funnier than its Twitter bio: “roses are red / violets are blue / computers can tell this kind of joke too.”
Roses are red / violets are blue / that’s the deal with this meme / that is popular online.
Jay Hathaway is a former senior writer who specialized in internet memes and weird online culture. He previously served as the Daily Dot’s news editor, was a staff writer at Gawker, and edited the classic websites Urlesque and Download Squad. His work has also appeared on nymag.com, suicidegirls.com, and the Morning News.