#BBCtrending: 14 year-old's clever poem knocks Twitter backwards

  • 27 February 2014

A poem written by a teenager has been retweeted 120,000 times.

When Derek Nichols tweeted a picture of a poem written by his little brother Jordan, he was hoping to bring it to a wider audience, but was not expecting it to go viral. On Wednesday morning he wrote: "Read this... My 14 year old brother wrote this... Crazyyyy."

On first reading, the 25-line poem entitled Our Generation, although lucid and heartfelt, does not strike the reader as a technical achievement. The "crazyyyyy" part happens when you reach the last line and follow the instruction to read through the poem backwards, a line at a time. The poem then reveals a different meaning, a different sentiment, and a different view of "our generation".

Our generation will be known for nothing / Never will anybody say, / We were the peak of mankind. / That is wrong, the truth is, / Our generation was a failure. / Thinking that / We actually succeeded / Is a waste. And we know / Living only for money and power / Is the way to go. / Being loving, respectful and kind / Is a dumb thing to do. / Forgetting about that time, / Will not be easy, but we will try. / Changing our world for the better / Is something we never did, / Giving up / Was how we handled our problems. / Working hard / Was a joke. / We knew that / People thought we couldn't come back / That might be true, / Unless we turn things around / (Read from bottom to top now).

Shortly after posting the poem, it began to be furiously retweeted and Nichols wrote: "My left hand is all over the internet". The response was generally warm. "It actually evoked some emotion in me. I felt something," said Olaturndownforwhat. "This gave me chills," agreed @thatsavage_34. But Nichols, who lives in North Carolina, had to leap to his brother's defence when a few tweets drew attention to the similarity between Our Generation and a poem called Lost Generation by Jonathan Reed, which can also be read backwards. BBC Trending has not been able to verify the details of the story beyond what appears on Twitter.

Meanwhile, older brother Nichols himself tried his own forwards-backwards poem (keeping his hands out of shot this time).

I like chicken nuggets. / It is a fact that / Chicken nuggets are good / Now lets turn it around / (Read from bottom to top now)

All of the above might be true. Unless we turn this blog post around.

(Actually, don't. We're not that clever.)

Reporting by William Kremer

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