Young Writers: Light and Dark and the Shades In Between

Each week, Young Writers Project receives several hundred submissions from students in Vermont and New Hampshire in response to writing prompts and selects the best for publication here and in 20 other newspapers and on This week, we publish responses to the prompt, Light/Dark: Write about contrasts. Read more at

About the Project

Young Writers Project is an independent nonprofit that engages students to write, helps them improve and connects them with audiences through the Newspaper Series (and and the Schools Project (


It’s funny, maybe even tragic,

Her hands are light, but her touch is darkness,

The cards played right, nearly to the point



After brown eyes, blue eyes are a letdown  

And I, 

Gladly lie there. 


Horizon is our own dead ending to cope with,

And it’s vital, maybe even meaningless,

That there’s such a thing as white charcoal and erasable pens,

That soldiers fight with the best intentions

And the joker always had the wisest premonitions.

The wealthiest cities are refuge to the most homeless, 

Your body is warmest when the air is the coldest,

When poetry’s borders are faded, the wordplay is the boldest.

Did ever think that maybe light is just a brighter shade of darkness?

She was summer

Light and carefree,

I was winter

Dark and gloomy.


She is always joyful;

She is always gay,

I am always mournful;

I am always gray.

She quicksteps with the sun

While I waltz with the moon,

She is graceful like the wind

While I am a great buffoon.


We met when we were seven

Over simple child’s play,

When we had things in common,

And we have been friends to this day.

However, time and time again

I think of how summer’s breeze

Is different in every way

To winter’s cold, icy freeze.


It is times like this when I wonder

As I keep my doubts at bay,

If we hadn’t met when we were younger

Would we still be friends today?

Life is not just black and white.

There are different shades of gray

And the area is found between two extremes

Which complicates everything.


It would be so easy to believe in one thing or another.

No thinking, no wondering, just living a certain way.

Dreams would be no more, just reality.

Life would be so easy.


Living in the gray area

One needs to realize that there is not

Always a right and wrong.

Life is not an open road but a winding, misty, wooded path.


The gray area causes us to travel through life uncharted.

Sometimes it causes us to stumble and fall;

Other times beautiful discoveries are made.

The gray area isn’t gray at all; it’s what gives life its color.

Like good and evil,

there exists truth and lies,

Honesty and dishonesty,

Trust and distrust,

Loyalty and betrayal,

What to believe, 


What not to believe.

The honorable,

Almighty truth,


The cowardly,

Disdainful lie.

On a Vermont summer day,
the heat warms every surface.
On a Vermont winter day,
the cold freezes every inch.

Summer’s sunlight
illuminates, radiating a gentle warmth.
Winter’s clouds
bring darkness, condensing into a bitter chill.

In the early morning glow,
I rise early to catch the blissfulness of a beautiful morning.
In the early morning freeze,
I hide under my covers to avoid the frigid day.

In the afternoon haze,
I allow the setting sun to penetrate my skin, turning it darker and my hair lighter.
In the afternoon stillness,
the cold dries my fingers and stiffens my body.

On the warm summer night,
I gather around the campfire, creating summer memories I will not forget.
On the wintry night,
holiday lights create a feeling of bliss, joy, and thankfulness that will always affect me.

During the fleeting moments of summer,
I feel at ease, peaceful.
During the ephemeral moments of winter,
I feel thankful, blessed.

On a Vermont summer day,
the sun’s rays bounce, dance, splash, cascade over the land, beautifully.
On a Vermont winter day,
ice glitters, sparkles on the limbs of every tree and the tips of every surface, magically.

A single raindrop falls.

It is silent on the now dark and gloomy street; everyone has scurried inside their shops and homes, closing the cold and wet out by latching the windows shut. Soon, darkness falls, and shadows are thrown off the walls of the little shops.

Soon more and more raindrops are falling, filling the flower pots and drowning the plants. People huddle around the fire, hoping to scare away the dark. Down the street in the little bakery, the baker can be seen frosting his cakes and baking his pies, hoping that the flavors can wash away the sadness of the rain, just like the rain washed away the warmth of the light.

A bedraggled tom cat walks the street; his fur is matted and soaked, and his left ear has a deep, bloody cut, from a recent fight. He flinches at the boom of a nearby thunder cloud. He has nowhere to go, and no one to depend on. It is just him and the water pounding down on him.

As lightning strikes, not two miles away, the tom cat winces before diving under an old horse carriage, abandoned by a farmer. He shivers and lets out a pitiful meow. He does not know how much time has passed, but the gloom is threatening to overtake him. It has been weeks since he last ate, and the bone-chilling cold is getting to him.

He snaps his head towards a small sliver of light, and soon he hears footsteps. “Here, little kitty,” an old woman whispers. Behind her, the old cat can hear the joyful laughter of a pub, and the flames of fire dancing in the fireplace can be seen.

Slowly, he stands up, a hopeful gleam showing in the old warrior’s eyes. As he follows the woman inside, his nose is greeted by the powerful smell of mice. Many, many mice. The door shuts behind him, and a bowl of cream is placed before him. Gratefully, he laps up the liquid.

He purrs as he settles down beside the fireplace, the old woman stroking his back and telling him stories. And slowly, his eyes droop, and he falls asleep. And when his eyes flutter open the next morning, he is greeted by light.

Night comes,

darkness slinks in,

cowering from the sun.

Shadows hide behind people

as they walk through the oncoming mist.

Moving to fit into every space unreached by light,

the blackness slowly prevails.

The sun pushed back,

night claims more and more time.

The last rays of light,

creeping away...


The world engulfed by an impenetrable black,

the night victorious

for now.

Creatures of the dark

move out from hiding

to rejoice under the moon.

The night moves on;

the sun’s strength is back,

ready to fight,

Morning sun peeking over the lush green hills,

seeking shadows open to annihilation.

The light piercing the utter black,

forcing it to back away.

The mist evaporates,

the few remaining shadows gathering,

protected by the trees.

The sun has won once again,

the bluebird raising its head in song,

to praise the new day.

Next prompts:

Puns. Have fun with a play on words (i.e. cereal number, sell phone, etc.). Try to fit in as many puns as you can. Be creative! Alternates: Essential. What’s one thing you absolutely could not live without? Why?; or I believe…Start a piece with the words, I believe. Due Jan. 11.

Invisible. Imagine that you are invisible for a day and could be anywhere at any time in history, witnessing without participating. What do you see? Alternates: General writing; or Photo 7. Write a poem based on this photo. Due Jan. 18.