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The Lost (& Found) Generation: Viral Poetry Has Three Plot Twists!

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Derek Nichols (if that IS your real name?) decided to post a poem written by his younger brother, Jordan, who seems wise beyond his 14 years. Since it was posted on Wednesday, it has gone viral, as they say, BIG TIME.

Here’s the transcript of the poem:

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”

OK, ready for a plot twist? Now read it backwards, from bottom to top. Alright I’ll help you, just read this below, which the is the above in reverse.

“Unless we turn things around
That might be true,
People thought we couldn’t come back
We knew that
Was a joke.
Working hard
Was how we handled our problems.
Giving up
Is something we never did.
Changing our world for the better
Will not be easy, but we will try.
Forgetting about that time,
Is a dumb thing to do.
Being loving, respectful, and kind
Is the way to go.

Living only for money and power
Is a waste. And we know
We actually succeeded
Thinking that
Our generation was a failure.
That is wrong, the truth is
We were the peak of mankind.
Never will anybody say,
Our generation will be known for nothing.”

Amazing, right? This kid is BRILLIANT. Lots of people thought so. It was reposted and commented on and praised to the heavens across the worldwide interweb. Love these feel-good stories, don’t you? Wow. Except that it appears Derek’s brother, Jordan, found a very similar poem online and “tweaked it” to make it his own. Read this poem from 2011 by Jonathan Reed and see what you think?

The Lost Generation
“I am part of a lost generation.
And I refuse to believe that
I can change the world.
I realize this may be a shock, but
“Happiness comes from within”
Is a lie, and
“Money will make me happy”
So in thirty years, I will tell my children
They are not the most important thing in my life.
My employer will know that
I have my priorities straight because
Work
Is more important than
Family
I tell you this:
Once upon a time
Families stayed together
But this will not be true in my era.
This is a quick fix society
Experts tell me
Thirty years from now, I will be celebrating the tenth anniversary of my divorce.
I do not concede that
I will live in a country of my own making.
In the future,
Environmental destruction will be the norm.
No longer can it be said that
My peers and I care about this Earth.
It will be evident that
My generation is apathetic and lethargic.
It is foolish to presume that
There is hope.
And all of this will come true unless we reverse it.”

And now you could read it this one in reverse too, but you can see this poetic palindrome is more than a little similar. I’m now waiting for someone to dig up a yellowed notepaper from 1952 with a similar poetic injustice. Beautiful poem, btw. I’m happy to read them both…

To me the third twist in this story, is that THIS story of Derek’s viral post, praise for originality, inspiration and then discovery of its origins reveals as much or more about our generation and the time we live in, than poetry. The internet is a warehouse of information and inspiration and also an empty vessel that’s already full of things to copy and/or be “inspired” by. We are so quick to judge from moment to moment that, even though the history of the world and its contents are at our Google-tips, we often lose sight of what’s real and what’s not. Draw your own conclusions, but I didn’t figure this out, I just connected the dots and painted in the numbers, using mass communication that’s at my fingertips.

The post The Lost (& Found) Generation: Viral Poetry Has Three Plot Twists! appeared first on World of Wonder.


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