How a New York Teen's Secretly Inspirational Poem Went Viral

How a Brooklyn teenager's poem gained attention in London and then went.

ByABC News
July 24, 2015, 12:24 PM

— -- A poem with a surprisingly inspirational message made an impact on one London bar patron, who then helped it go viral -- and it later turned out to be the work of an 11th grade girl from New York.

Ronnie Joice "was a bit worn out" after spending a day going on informational meetings for a prospective job when he stopped in a "bohemian" bar called Nambucca. He told ABC News that he spotted a poem that had been posted on the wall, and later tweeted a photo of it.

At first, the poem appears to be negative, venting about life's frustrations. But there's a big surprise at the end.

The poem's ending instructs the reader to go back and re-read it from the bottom to the top, effectively reversing the meaning.

Zachery Stephenson, the events manager at the bar, told ABC News that he posted the poem on the wall on Tuesday after a cousin in New York sent it along after Stephenson posted a message on Facebook "moaning" about a friend who had let him down.

"It just kind of struck a chord and really made me change my perception of things," Stephenson told ABC News.

It was the first time Stephenson had ever posted a poem in the bar, he said, and he is pleased with the response, as the poem has now gone viral.

The poem was written by Chanie Gorkin, an 11th grader in Brooklyn, New York.

Chanie's mother, Dena Gorkin, confirmed to ABC News that her daughter wrote the poem that originally was posted online on as part of a poetry contest.

Chanie was away at summer camp and unavailable for comment, but her mother said that she's been telling her daughter about the reaction to the poem and "she's quite overwhelmed."

The poem originated as a school assignment in which the students were told to write about their worst day ever, Dena Gorkin said, adding that her family is Hasidic and studies Hasidic philosophy.

"One of the major tenets of Hasidic philosophy is that the mind rules over the heart, that we are able to channel our emotions to the positive ... that there is God in everything, and it is part of our mission in life to look for the good, and to find it and to spread it," Gorkin said.

So when Chanie was given the assignment, she told the teacher that she doesn't believe in a worst day ever, and used her writing skills to turn the question around.

"I was floored," Dena Gorkin said of her reaction to the poem. "[That] a 16-year-old was thinking this deeply was really impressive to me."