Poetry Smelling Game

“My Senses Are All Backward” Smelling Game

Your world is shaped by the information you take in through your senses.  You know which ice cream you like best because of your taste buds.  You know that you shouldn’t touch the stove top because of your sense of touch.  The sirens warn you to get out of the way!  And most importantly, your sense of smell keeps you away from the toxic stench emanating from the facilities after your brother spends an hour “resting!”

But what if you couldn’t trust those senses anymore?  That’s exactly what happens in the following poem, where the character’s senses turn up all backward.  Imagine describing the spray of a skunk as delightful, and the smell of a rose as hideous.  People would think you were crazy!  Do you think this poem is a bit crazy?

My Senses All Are Backward

My senses all are backward
and it really makes me wonder
if on the day that I was born
somebody made a blunder.

For, strange but true, my senses
all got totally reversed.
Now everything I like the best
is what you’d call the worst.

I only like the smell of things
that frighten other noses.
I love the odor of a skunk.
I hate the smell of roses.

I only like the taste of foods
that cause most folks to shiver.
I hate the taste of chocolate.
I’m crazy over liver.

I’m not too fond of music
but there’s simply no denying
I like the sound of honking horns
and little babies crying.

I hate the feel of silky, velvet
softness on my skin.
I much prefer the way it feels
when sitting on a pin.

I hate the look of anything
that’s really cute and snuggly.
The things I think are pretty
are what most consider ugly.

So let me tell you one more thing
before I have to go:
I think YOU are the most attractive
person that I know.

Kenn Nesbitt

Wait, did the poet just make a really sly dig at me?  Look what happens when your senses get flip-flopped.  This guy can’t really trust his senses any more, can he?  The real question is, can YOU trust YOURS?  Try out this next project to see if you can trust your own sense of smell.


What you’ll need

Plastic Easter EggsCotton Balls

  • 6 Plastic eggs, each a different color (like the type used for Easter Baskets)
  • 12 Cotton Balls
  • 2 sheets of paper and 2 pencils
  • Various liquid scents

You can use anything liquid with a strong odor that won’t spoil.  Here’s what I used:  Vanilla extract, pickle juice, lilac scented air freshener spray, peppermint extract, Old Spice spray deodorant, garlic oil


Poetry Smelling Game Step 1

  1. On a sheet of paper, write down the color of each egg.
  2. Separate the cotton balls into pairs, two cotton balls per egg.
  3. Squirt a little bit of one scent on the first pair of cotton balls.  You want them scented, but not soaked.
  4. Place the two scented cotton balls into one colored plastic egg and snap it shut.
  5. Write the scent on the sheet of paper next to the corresponding color.
  6. Repeat steps 3 – 5 until all of the eggs are used and the color-scent combinations are written down.

Poetry Smelling Game Step 5

To Play the Game

  1. Hand a blank sheet of paper and a pencil to your friend.
  2. Ask them to write down the colors of the eggs on the paper.
  3. Hand them one egg and ask them to sniff it.  Explain that they need to try to guess what smell is inside the egg.
  4. Ask them to write their guess next to the egg color on the paper.
  5. Next to their guess, have them write one adjective that describes the smell (i.e. sweet, spicy, funky, gross)
  6. Repeat until they have guessed all of the eggs.
  7. Tell them what was actually in the eggs!
  8. Repeat with another friend as many times as you like!

To Write a Poem

Once you have gathered the guessing-papers from your game, you can use the answers to write your very own “smelly poem!”  Choose one of the colored egg contents as the focus of the poem.  Write down all of the guesses and the adjectives in your poetry journal.  Add some words of your own if you want to!  Use your notes to write a silly poem about smells.  Here’s the one I wrote from the words used to describe vanilla, and the guesses about what was in the egg.


Is it ice cream, is it cookies, maybe it’s a pastry?
It smells so sweet and yummy,
Creamy, delicious, tasty.
If you let me open it, I’ll eat it,
Yes, I will-a.
You know that I always love
The flavor of vanilla!