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Young Writers Project is grateful to VTDigger.org, a nonprofit news operation in Vermont, for publishing selected YWP writing, art and photos each week. Please support the young writers and artists by going to VTDigger.org and leaving a comment. These pieces are selected for publication by YWP staff, mentors and this site's Community Leaders. If you wish to participate in the selection, contact YWP Executive Director Susan Reid.
 

 
Mar 23

Silent towns

Big, wet, end-of-March snowflakes muffle the sounds of the already-silent town.
38 (or more) signs paper the windows of the stores on Main Street.
Closed until further notice
So sorry
See you soon

But there's no one to see.
No one walks the streets anymore, especially when the snow is wet as rain and it piles on shoulders like burdens that come right back after you brush them off.
The town was already about to be ravaged by unnecessary construction.
Small businesses were already suffering.
Every couple of windows there were already signs.
Building for sale
Space for rent 
Closed for the season

Now there are signs in every window because 
We can't breathe the same air 
Anymore.

The world wants this town to be silent.
It was already breaking
Slowly
But in ways you could see.
Now, there is only
Coronavirus
COVID-19 
Mar 23

Gender

My gender feels like a river.
Fluid and unpredictable, it carries me
Through whirling rapids that seeth of indecision
And contemplative canyons, echoing with my own thoughts.
Sometimes the water rises, surging towards something new
But I do not drown.
Terrified and joyous, wary and curious, I rise with it.
 steady on my raft of identity.

Other times, my gender is a tree.
Comfortingly unmoving, yet always changing in small ways.
Reaching new branches into the sky, and flowering a different color each year.
A truth rooted so deeply within me, 
that not even the strongest winds can tear it down.
And when I climb this tree and reach the top, I am always surprised.
Because as intricate and diverse as my identity feels,

The sheer amount of things that I am
Is always outdone by the landscape shown below me
Of who I could be.
An endless view of possibilities, 
Mar 18

Officer, I Was Not Speeding.

I took this by accident when I was trying to take a long exposure of a bus.
 
Feb 27

Snow Cart

Feb 26

On the Beach

Feb 25

18 Things To Do Before You Turn 18 (Vermont Edition)

Below is a small list of things to do while you're still a 'kid'. Feel free to sprout it and add things you want in it! (All of these things are for Vermont). And yes, I have done most of these things.
Feb 18

Jupiter (song)

I wished upon the first star I saw glinting in the sky.
I tried to make it understand the feelings trapped inside.
I poured out all my heart and soul before I realized:
It was Jupiter. Oh, it was Jupiter.

Will it hold my secrets in its storms?
Keep them close like spinning moons?
Or let them loose like shooting stars,
Burning bright for all to see?

Keep them safe, keep them safe, keep them safe for me,
And hold them oh so lovingly,
Like fragile flowers and tender leaves in this cold, hard world.
Keep them safe, keep them safe, keep them safe for me,
They can’t be heard, they can’t be seen,
These words aren’t meant to be released in this cold, hard world.

I wanted to reclaim the words I’d whispered to the night.
I begged for them with hollow pleas, but that little shining light,
It kept them in its rigid grasp, it held them close and tight,
Feb 11

Frosted Moon

Feb 10

For my dad, when he was eight

Sometimes, especially on days when I wake before the sun, 
I cry and don't know why.
I think most people do occasionally. 

Last week I received a brown envelope
full of old passports. 
I stood at the countertop and opened it with my nail.

I flipped through the top few
and examined my grandfather's picture,
the stamps, the places he'd been, his signature on the line. 

And then, at the bottom of the stack, there was my father. 
I knew without reading the name. 

He had the same half-smile
and open eyes and way he tilted his head. 

And then I was crying
and I think I was happy. 
I remember smiling
and licking a tear from my top lip.

I couldn't stop looking at that tiny worn passport photo. 
I couldn't figure out how all that rain got inside my heart. 

Sometimes, I think when we're really desperate
we see ourselves in people we love. 

Feb 07

Chalkboard Fun

Feb 03

Missing: One Brain

Has anybody seen my brain?
I lost it during math
It was so confused it ran away
leaving havoc in its path

I wonder where it is right now
Its probably having fun
Swimming in some ocean blue
or bathing in the sun

I hate it when it flies away
it leaves me feeling blue
Because then when I need to think
I don't know what to do

If you find it then please contact me 
I'm feeling quite distressed
Because I have science next
and I know we'll have a test



 
Jan 29

Playing the part

At night, I’m terrified of falling asleep
because I don’t know what horrors are inside.
I may be young, but I can understand them.
I dress in dark colors and wear chains and chokers.
I feel so small in such an enormous universe.
I want to play the part of a human being,
but I also want to become the goddess of the stars.

I’m in love with the rain as it cools on my skin,
the petrichor that follows, and the returning sun,
but my heart spins like a weathervane in a storm.
My mind is a chaotic clatter of voices and sounds.
I am the commander of a thousand soldiers.
I am the brittle stem that carries the dead leaf.
My elegant and long fingers were created to create.
My tongue was pierced and your heart, it will pierce.

I pinch my cheeks so that they may smile wider,
but I am not always happy. I cry so I may cry again.
I am the drawings and writing on painted walls.

Jan 26
Eloise Silver Van Meter's picture

Women and Their Words

Jan 22

The Skull

As we walked through the great doors, wonders beyond description emerged before us. Enormous bears loomed overhead - a wall of matted hair, hooked claws and teeth rearing up to emphasize the vast space of the great Victorian hall. We continued along the first floor, my mother and Mrs. Pudvah occasionally stopping to admire the sheer menagerie of scales, feathers, and fur. A golden eagle perched here, a buffalo in mid-graze nearby, a family of opossums hanging there. Having seen the exhibits before, I kept walking. Senior photos were due by the end of the coming month, and there was a certain space in the museum I wanted my picture taken. Soon we found an odd little nook, its stairwell winding up to the second floor, its curved wooden expanse like that of a ship’s deck. Like a deck, the floor creaked with nearly every step, producing the only noise, save for some side conversations and children playing downstairs.

Jan 21

Here, fix this

"Here, fix this,"
they say, handing out the homework.
I stare at the world – er, worksheet.
This is a problem I can't solve alone.
The world is heating.
What am I supposed to do?
The oceans are rising.
What am I supposed to do?
Species are dying.
What am I supposed to do?
We are dying ...
What am I supposed to do?
I raise my hand,
"What are we supposed to do?"
The billionaire – er, teacher looks up.
"Fix it."
Nobody is working.
We are all solemnly staring at
our world – er, worksheet.
It's quiet.
I can hear the clock ticking away
the seconds we have left.
The CEOs – er, teacher tells us to hand them in.
I am the last to hand mine in.
I notice no one wrote anything on theirs.
We sit down.
I raise my hand again.
"What was the answer?"
The president – er, teacher looks startled.
He doesn't say anything.
"Never mind,"

Aspiration

I'm going through a cave art phase. 

(This isn't finished yet, I will add more animals and soften the dark lines.)
 

Jan 17
polite_conversation's picture

Book Bans

Parents shouldn’t be able to ban books from school libraries. In 2018, the American Library Association recorded that there were 347 books that had been requested to be banned in the United States. 32% of people attempting to get those books banned were parents. 

I love reading, there’s nothing better than a good book. Sometimes, the books I read are explicit, but these books having explicit content doesn’t immediately sully their value. It doesn’t cancel out all of the education provided within them. It's wild, the amount of growing and learning we do with the assistance of books. Books help kids grow their view of the whole world. No other content can put you straight into someone else’s life like a book can. The author Robbie J Harris commented on these bans, saying "I think these books look at the topics, the concerns, the worry, the fascination that kids have today... It's the world in which they're living."
Jan 15

Holding her hand

When she is born, you hold her close. You caress her small, soft head as you put her to sleep. You hold her hands as her small, pudgy feet pad across the white carpet. She clings to you fiercely as you urge her onto the bus for her first day of school. Your smile is her only reassurance.

When she gets onto a bike without training wheels for the first time, you give her shoulder a squeeze, then grip the back of her seat. You give her a thumbs up and she’s off. You walk with her, then run, still holding onto the seat. You finally let go. She flies down the street, as if you were still holding on. But then she starts to teeter, and her feet can’t keep up with the pedals. She tips over and falls. She gets hurt. It’s not the only time. All you can do is put Band-Aids on her cuts and wipe away her tears.

It surprises you when you realize that you're the one crying.
Jan 01
LGPug's picture

The Sparrow

Flapping down to human nest
Chirping as lies down to rest
A child shrieks and smiles, aloof
Sparrow hops up onto roof
Child grins and reaches high
Sparrow hovers in the sky
Child waits – looks up with love
Till young sparrow floats down from above
Child laughs – reaches to pet
Sparrow cocks his head to let
Child reaches to touch new friend
Till bigger creature puts to end
Child cries as sparrow flies
But sparrow chirps to say goodbye
Dec 21
poem 1 comment challenge: Tomorrow
joseph.deffner's picture

Tomorrow

Tomorrow I hope my mind won’t stray way and find a place to trap my thoughts.

Tomorrow I hope I will have fun–find joy and excitement.

Tomorrow I hope I can find time to relax, to let my soul run wild.

Tomorrow I hope my dog will bring me comfort and will curl up by my side.

Tomorrow I hope I will find time to read, to send myself to the world of books.

Tomorrow I hope to write, to let my hands chose what to say.

Tomorrow I hope to see my friends, to let their voices flow through my mind.

Tomorrow I hope to play basketball, to let my feet carry my in the patterns they find so familiar. 

Tomorrow I hope to draw, to let my hands show my eyes what to see.

Tomorrow I hope to sing, to let my voice travel the world through music.

Tomorrow I hope to be present in the world to be seen and heard.