How to post work on youngwritersproject.org: Start an account, log in, click “Write” to create a blog, fill in the title and body of the work and give it a genre tag. For publication in the Newspaper Series, click “Yes” and choose the prompt you are writing for. Under the prompts, fill in name, school and grade. Finally, click “Save.” More information on youngwritersproject.org.
Support: YWP is supported by this newspaper and foundations, businesses and individuals who recognize the power and value of writing. If you would like to contribute, please go to youngwritersproject.org/support, or mail your donation to YWP, 12 North St., Suite 8, Burlington, VT 05401.
THIS WEEK’S PROMPT:
Wonder, Red and General Writing
The Last LeafBy Audrey Dawson Grade 9, Essex High School
Lately, I’ve noticed that the wind has been extremely persistent. It has been leaking through cracks in the walls and churning up trees so that every leaf spirals uncontrollably down.
There is a tree that I see every bleary-eyed morning, where the wind has pressured every leaf to let go except for one. This one is crisp and wrinkled like the weathered skin of the hard-working. This little leaf lost his green a long time ago, yet he maintains a grip on his temporary home and doesn’t lose faith that one day the wind will settle.
So the little leaf is pushed and twisted by the wind. The leaf is called by his friends who litter the base of the tree. But he doesn’t join those who abandoned him and the trees sigh.
As the days are blown away by the wind, the air gets colder and more irritable. White puffs make the ground an expressionless face of innocence. The world is clean and luminous instead of worn and scabbed.
The leaves at the foot of the tree are buried and decaying, disintegrating into the quick sand of earth, becoming worm food. The last leaf finally lets go the second the wind slows. The sun peeks through the bleak clouds and a crinkled smile lights the leaf’s face as he
to where he is noticed by the teenaged girl trudging home from school and is noticed by the squirrel who pines for green in the world of white.
The brittle leaf is picked up by a rosy-cheeked child with silky wings and the last leaf is taken into the outlined clouds, free from the malevolence of the wind, the doubt of the trees, and the pressure of all those who fall, but don’t realize their doom.
NEXT WEEK’S PROMPT:
Farm. Do you live on or near a farm? Write about an experience you’ve had there. Alternate: Top 5. Make a list of your top 5 anything, animate or inanimate. Due March 7.
WonderingBy Lillian Kolbenson Grade 10, Essex High School
Why I like the things I do.
About doubt and how it intrudes.
How other people think.
I wonder who will sculpt our minds.
About the beat on the pavement.
Why people get angry.
About the time.
Why we lose pencils.
What finally leads people to give up.
Why people choose the things they do.
Who watches over me.
Why people are scared to try.
About the biography of a bug.
Why we must rest.
What birds think about.
Why people look at things in the way that they do.
Why people don’t and / or don’t wonder why they do.
About the lucky clovers and the sunbeams.
What a miracle looks like,
And where they come from.
About trees and their leaves.
If the world will change much in a year or two,
And if I will change, too.
(End a piece with this line, “And yet all I see is red.”)
Should Have FeltBy Leah Kelleher Grade 9, Essex High School
The pressure of satin,
Long pearly bones interlocked
for the pages of a riddle.
Corners curved carefully.
Soft parchment paper
gliding along pink skin.
Pricked hairs covering limbs.
Excitement’s tangled locks tickle my feet.
swing in a step,
glass filled with hope’s powdery tears.
You let me touch your aura,
and yet all I see is red.