I’m Srot of Srcmabled Up Tdaoy
Buy the book The Elephant Repairman
I’m srot of srcmabled up tdaoy.
I’m tolatly cnofsued.
You mgiht tihnk taht it’s fnuny, but
I’m relaly not amsued.
I’m feeilng srot of sctaterbarined.
I’m trleuy in a tzizy.
I’m jsut not thniknig stragiht at all.
I’m afwluly dzaed and dzizy.
I msut be hrad to udnersatnd.
My wrods are scuh a jmuble.
My mnid feles lkie it msised a setp
and took a ltitle tmuble.
My haed is suepr wozoy and
I’m wbobly on my legs.
I geuss I sholudn’t strat the day
by etaing scrmabled eggs.
— Kenn Nesbitt
Copyright © 2022. All Rights Reserved.
Reading Level: Grade 4
Topics: Food Poems, Wacky Weirdness, Wordplay
Poetic Techniques: Alliteration, Lyric & Dramatic Poems, Metaphor and Simile, Wordplay
About This Poem
Believe it or not, your brain is an automatic code-cracking puzzle solver. Your brain can still read words, even if some letters are in the wrong places. For example:
Cna yuo raed tihs?
Of course you can. In the science of psychology, this is called the transposed letter effect. In this example, I simply “transposed,” or switched, two letters in each word. When transposing letters, they don’t have to be right next to each other, but the closer they are, the easier the words are to read.
Fro elampxe, tihs scntenee is plobabry herdar to raed. (For example, this sentence is probably harder to read.)
You might also notice that I kept the first letters in the right place, and only transposed the middle letters, or end letters in shorter words like “can” and “you.” Keeping the first and last letters in the right places, and only transposing the middle letters makes mixed-up words much easier to read.
Because of this, there is an Internet meme called “typoglycemia,” which claims that no matter how mixed-up the middle letters are, you can still read scrambled words. This isn’t really true. The longer the words are, and the more you scramble up the letters, the harder they become to read. But short words, or words with just a little bit of scrambling or transposing can still be pretty easy to read.
For this poem, I decided to see how much I could scramble the letters of the words and still have it be fairly easy to read. In very short words like “my,” “and,” and “the,” I didn’t move any letters at all. In medium-length words, I transposed just two letters, usually close together. And in longer words, like “scatterbrained” I transposed two letter pairs.
What do you think? Does it work? Why don’t you try writing some scrambled sentences of your own to see if your friends can read them?
By the way, if you have any trouble reading this poem, simply click the Play button on the audio player (just above the illustration) to hear me read it for you. And if like this sort of wordplay, here’s another poem you might enjoy:
From the book The Elephant Repairman
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