People & Places

YWP: A Letter

Frêdêric Chopin's Ballade #1 in g Minor is performed by Aliza Silverstein of Hyde Park. Courtesy photo
Aliza Silverstein is a home-schooled senior from Hyde Park. Courtesy photo
YWP only green-webEditor’s note: Young Writers Project, a Vermont nonprofit dedicated to helping students write well, will be sharing several exceptional pieces of best student work each week at for special display over the weekend. We hope you appreciate the young writers’ viewpoints, imagination and experiences. Please let us know what you think.

A Letter

By Aliza Silverstein,
a home-schooled senior

Did you see the mountain this morning?
It rose, majestic
from the trailing mist,
proud ship on breathless seas.
And the heron was at the pond today,
so still it betrayed itself —
I wonder what thoughts rippled
its tranquil mind.

Did you know the plum tree fell?
Now one grows alone in the garden,
and fruit blankets the grass.
But the butternut still stands
where you planted it,
dropping soft leaves on the water
as a child launching ships,
and the kindly wind sends them voyaging.

The trees began to turn today —
already the lawn is dusted with cinnamon flakes,
and I smell fall in the apples and frost.

When I saw the star fall,
I caught my breath
and thought of you.

Click below to hear Aliza read her work. [soundcloud url=”″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”80″ iframe=”true” /]

About YWP

YWP publishes about 1,000 students’ work each year here, in 19 newspapers across Vermont and in parts of New Hampshire and on Vermont Public Radio. It runs an online teen writing community,, which has only one rule: be respectful. It works with teachers in 63 schools who use YWP’s unique, free digital classroom platform and provides many with ongoing professional development mentoring and other teacher training. And it is developing NxN, a writing center at its Burlington headquarters. For more, go to or

If you are a youth or you know a youth who is passionate about something and works hard at it, be it building models or flying or playing the drums or climbing cliffs, please contact Geoffrey Gevalt at and tell him something about the youth and how to get in touch with her or him.

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  • Kathy Leonard

    Thanks for all of the images in “A Letter,” Aliza.

    … lovely.

  • Paul Richards

    Nice, thanks!

  • Sophia Cannizzaro

    oh my gosh, love the language and images in this! so much feeling in very few words. and you’re a great reader, too!
    ~sophia (pianolady on ywp)