Perhaps by now you’ve come across the poem “Worst Day Ever?”
The poem has been making waves across social media as an anonymous post until the author’s identity was revealed last week: 16-year-old Chanie Gorkin, a student at the all-girls Lubavitch high school Beth Rivkah in Crown Heights.
Beyond the scope of Jewish publications, the inspiring poem has caught the attention from media outlets on both sides of the Atlantic, including Mashable, The Huffington Post, Teen Vogue, ABC, NBC and The Telegraph. JTA reports it has been translated into several languages, including Hebrew, Chinese and Russian.
The poem was even spotted hanging on the wall of a North London bar by a man who tweeted it out.
“The coverage has been overwhelming,” says Gorkin’s mother Dena in an interview with Chabad.org, noting that her daughter was not looking for such attention. “But she is happy to have inspired so many people.”
The poem, whose deeper message is revealed only once read backward, was originally assigned for a school project, and later submitted on the PoetryNation website. She was a semi-finalist in the website’s July to December 2014 contest and the poem was published in a collection of poems entitled “Beyond the Sea: Odyssey.”
The poem sounds pessimistic when read from top to bottom, but the reader is instructed at the end of the poem to reread it from the bottom up to find out how the writer really felt about her day.
Chanie told Chabad.org that the text of the poem was inspired by Chassidic philosophy, which teaches about harnessing the power of moach shalit al halev (intellect’s ability to govern one’s emotions) and finding the good hidden in every moment.
Read the full text of her poem below:
“Worst Day Ever?”
by Chanie Gorkin
Today was the absolute worst day ever
And don’t try to convince me that
There’s something good in every day
Because, when you take a closer look,
This world is a pretty evil place.
Some goodness does shine through once in a while
Satisfaction and happiness don’t last.
And it’s not true that
It’s all in the mind and heart
True happiness can be attained
Only if one’s surroundings are good
It’s not true that good exists
I’m sure you can agree that
It’s all beyond my control
And you’ll never in a million years hear me say
Today was a very good day
Now read it from bottom to top, the other way,
And see what I really feel about my day.
(Now read from bottom to top.)
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.