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Young Writers: Students Let Their Imaginations Take Flight With Poetry and Prose

Young Writers Let Their Imaginations Take Flight With Poetry and Prose

Each week, Young Writers Project receives several hundred submissions from students in Vermont and New Hampshire in response to writing prompts and we select the best for publication here and in 20 other newspapers and on VPR.net. This week, we publish responses to the prompt, Flying: You are flying blissfully and effortlessly over the countryside. What do you see and feel? Read more at youngwritersproject.org.

RACING THE WINDS

By Lindsey Stuntz

Grade 10, Woodstock Union High School

I race along the winding woodland trail

The sun peeks through the green boughs,

The air is cool and light as I inhale

I run as fast as my body allows.

I race so fast I become the wind

And fly above the deep green trees,

The rules of gravity I rescind

As I flow on the cool autumnal breeze.

I look down to see a tiny town

The houses and barns are little toys,

Dyed in colors of red and white and brown

With tiny dolls of girls and boys.

I continue along and am filled with wonder

As I whizz along and fly so high,

I watch as the clouds are blown asunder

And see the sun stain the sky.

In pinks and red, and yellows and blue

The sky seems to have no more colors to give,

I fly forward towards the stunning hue

And think that I could be happy, to fly as long as I live.

ONLY IN MY DREAMS

By Clara Henderson

Grade 9, The Sharon Academy

Up here there are no breaks. It’s always another day, another destination, another storm ahead. Today the rain comes in cold, sharp bursts. Yet even on a clear day, the air is frigid, so I have learned to deal with the discomfort.

I wait for this tedious trip to be over. Yet, tomorrow we will be flying in the same dull sky as before. Then suddenly, I see a few of the pack dive down in excitement.

“Land! Everyone! Land ahead!”

Chirps and coos ripple through the air as we descend to get a closer look. Below me I see a herd of shining, colorful animals gliding across the land. They shoot off with speed and grace, their leg muscles tensing with each stride. How wonderful it must feel to have your feet pound against the land — to feel the grass and mud between your toes! I look at my mangy wings. My legs and feet are dry and slight. They are meant for snatching prey and nothing more.

The running animals below suddenly come to a big, yellow line. One of them passes the line before all the rest, creating an eruption of hoots and whistles. I am close to the action now. The animal that passed the line first is titled “Winner.” A shining gold plate is given to the Winner. It raises its arms in victory.

These animals receive a reward, just for

running? I would give a thousand gold plates just for the chance to run!

Soon, it is time to return to the clouds. With an effort I flap my heavy wings back into the chilly air. Up here there is nothing to see, so I think about the graceful animals back on land. As if the sky is angered by my thoughts, the wind around me starts to howl, and rain dampens my feathers.

For now, I will fly, but in my dreams, I run.

SOFT LANDING

By Natalie Smith

Grade 7, Richmond Middle School

Open my eyes,

quickly reverse,

falling,

The wind rips,

a flailing scream

from my mouth,

The flip-flopping fish

in my stomach

grows quiet,

stops,

again,

open eyes,

still falling,

No,

flying,

gliding,

turning,

arms out wide,

patchwork quilt,

full of shades of green,

far below,

white pillows

float around me,

drifting,

soft,

soothing.

I open my eyes

to my own patchwork quilt,

my own soft clouds by my head,

the droning beep

of an alarm clock

ties an anchor to my feet,

down to the ground,

landing softly,

returning

to my bed,

awake now.

PERFECTION

By Amber Strock

Grade 11, Oxbow High School

As the wind gently brushed my hair behind my shoulders, I felt entirely at ease. My body was elevated far beyond the ground. Though I would normally have felt terrified, I felt a sense of serenity that I had never known. Gliding through the air was a feeling beyond any I had ever known. My body felt weightless. Lying parallel to the ground below, I felt no pressure, ache, or sting anywhere. I was painless and carefree. To make everything so much more blissful, the Vermont view was breathtaking.

When I began my journey, my body swept over Lake Champlain. The sun shone directly behind me, and I watched as my shadow danced across the surface of the dark blue, clear lake water, following my every move. Just a second later, I was soaring above Burlington, passing Church Street and the crowded streets full of tourists, locals, and college students. Normally, this traffic would have felt so dense and congested, but flying high above it made everything seem to slow down. Within minutes, I was above Montpelier. I gasped in amazement as the capitol dome sparkled in the sunlight, throwing rays of light in every direction. From the ground, the capitol was appealing, but from the sky it was stunning. I lingered for a moment to take it in and then transitioned on.

After passing over the beautiful cities of Vermont, I wanted to see what I loved most. When I arrived, I found myself in awe. On a beautiful sunny day in September, Vermont’s landscape was beautiful. The leaves were that perfect peak color. From above, I was able to catch that ephemeral moment when the colors were at their absolute best, just before they begin to fade and fall into the dreary dullness of winter. From above, I was able to fully appreciate the beauty that had always been right in front of me. I fell into splashes of orange and red, letting myself drift into absolute bliss. At that moment, I realized I was in perfection high above the most beautiful place.

BREAK AWAY

By Sarah Bozuwa

Grade 7, Richmond Middle School

Hills. Trees. Tiny colorful dots, something like flowers. I break. Not in half, not inside, but away. I break away from what I know, from the cries of those below, and soar. I soar across mountains I have never seen. I glide across lakes I have never swum in. I dance on stables I have never ridden at. I take in the world I never knew.

The black smog that covered my life, my clothes, the streets outside my crummy apartment, gone. The honking cars that once filled my ears, lost, and hopefully never found. The language of slang I spoke, now sounds like a foreign tongue as I fly through the clouds. I feel at home with the puffs of white. With birds at my back and trees below to break my fall, I am safe.

I am away from the crazy world I left below. I roll down the valleys, with wild horses stampeding behind me. I look to the sky and have my body follow my gaze. I free fall down and let my nose almost hit the ground before pulling up. The hurt is gone, but my feelings are sharp.

My senses are on high alert. I can see the beautiful countryside rolling before me. I can smell the fresh water from the storm that took away the sun for days on end. I can feel the crisp air as I turn in circles in the sky. I can almost taste the juicy strawberries that grow beneath me. The only thing I hear is the grass moving back and forth, in rhythm with the wind. I will never return to my tattered streets, my shattered life, or my fractured heart. And never again will my feet touch the ground.

Next prompt:

If only ... Write about a situation in which you wish you had done things differently. Alternates: Dialogue day. Tell a story using only dialogue; or general writing in any genre. Due Nov. 30.

About the Project

Young Writers Project is an independent nonprofit that engages students to write, helps them improve and connects them with authentic audiences through the Newspaper Series (and youngwritersproject.org) and the Schools Project (ywpschools.net).