People & Places

Young Writers Project: Right back down

Young Writers Project, an independent nonprofit based in Burlington, engages young people to write and use digital media to express themselves with clarity and power, and to gain confidence and skills for school, the workplace and life.

Check out the most recent issue of The Voice, Young Writers Project’s monthly digital magazine. Click here.

Each week, VTDigger features a writing submission — an essay, poem, fiction or nonfiction — accompanied by a photo or illustration from Young Writers Project.

YWP publishes about 1,000 students’ work each year here, in newspapers across Vermont, on Vermont Public Radio and in YWP’s monthly digital magazine, The Voice. Since 2006, it has offered young people a place to write, share their photos, art, audio and video, and to explore and connect online at For more information, please contact Susan Reid at [email protected].

“Oceanside Beauty,” by Astrid Longstreth, 12, Jericho

Ask any outdoor enthusiast and they’ll tell you that one of the most gratifying feelings in the world is reaching the tippy-top of the mountain and surveying the vast expanse below. Green Mountain State hiker and this week’s featured poet, Vivien Sorce of Hinesburg, clings to the exhilaration of physical triumph and natural wonderment that follows a strenuous climb yet dissipates the moment her feet touch flat ground. 

Right back down

Vivien Sorce, 15, Hinesburg

The summit where miles become minuscule 
is a blue fade of a pinprick from fresh-cut grass and gravel home 
as you stand there and ponder
that you stood atop said such dome,
burning muscles to reach something breathtaking 
to be back at the bottom by noon.
How the view is unstoppable,
but that afternoon the view is your room.
How you cherish that moment
only after you’ve grasped that it's real,
because now you’re in the car listening to radio
and it's becoming no big deal.
But spend hours inside at a desktop,
or a summer of hot tubs and wealth,
and you’ll never reach the top
of that feeling of pushing yourself.
And there is that stubborn expanse of prickly pine trees
who wonder why we come and go, come and go, 
when the view from the top is a daily show —
you could just stay here, ya know?

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