Young Writers Project: Grace Orvis & Andrew Knight

Young Writers Project is an independent nonprofit that engages students to write, helps them improve, and connects them with authentic audiences in newspapers, before live audiences, and online. YWP also publishes an annual anthology and The Voice, a digital magazine with YWP’s best writing, images, and features. More information is available at, [email protected] or 802-324-9538.
The following poems were written for a general writing prompt:
Crystal Lake
Majestic mountains tower over crystal-clear water.
Sky-scraping evergreens border the rocky shore,
their reflections blurred in the water.
My paddle slices through the lake silently,
leaving only bubbles in my wake.
Minuscule droplets of silvery ice dot my hair,
giving me a veil of ice.
I let my hand graze the top of the cold, clear abyss
as my kayak drifts slowly along.
I can no longer hear the sound of my friends’ voices.
Now, far away from reality, I am alone,
encased in fragile silence.
My arms throb from paddling for so long
and my clothes are drenched and cold,
but it feels good to push through the pain — I feel strong.
I am in awe of nature right now.
It feels almost like this place was created just for me.
I look down into the water and see petite silverfish,
their compact bodies casting dark shadows as they dart,
avoiding the eagle’s eye on the lake’s rocky bottom.
I can imagine how I look to them,
my face distorted and mostly hidden,
my life jacket so big it covers half my face.
They must think I’m a strange, mutant bird.
I hear the abrupt splashing of paddles behind, and smile.
It makes all the difference,
to be able to share this experience
with the people who matter most to me.
I shout, “Betcha can’t catch me!”
and join them in the cacophonous splashing of paddles
that shatters the fragile silence.
— Grace Orvis, 13
Ways of looking at me
Set high in the Green Mountains,
Wind sweeps across Mount Mansfield,
Combing through my dark hair
Atop the summit.
Flowing words and vibrant pictures
Reflected on the lenses
Of my glasses.
Before my eyes,
Dinosaurs and other vastly ancient beings
Appear from extinction,
Resurrected through graphite and ink.
Fleur de lis,
Bald eagle —
Badges and achievements
Of a lifelong career in scouting
Branded, sewn
Across my tan uniform,
Worn with incommunicable pride.
A ball cap
Crimson as the fall,
Emblazoned with colorful heraldry,
Sits atop my head.
Clean air
Of the verdant forests
Fills my lungs.
My hands
Brush away
At loose soil,
Revealing the puzzle
Of a prehistoric world.
Over the intercom,
Every student,
Every teacher,
Pauses to hear
Greetings, announcements —
Enthusiastic words
Spoken from my mouth…
— Andrew Knight, 18
Excerpted from original. Read complete poem at:
Note: In his original post online, Knight wanted others to know this piece was modeled after the work of Wallace Stevens. For that reason capitalization, line fragments, etc., were not edited out.

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