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VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

Young Writers Project: The Little Bird

Courtesy, Susan Reid
Amelia Canney from Milton is an eighth grader from St. Francis Xavier School in Winooski. She writes about the bravery of a bullied boy.

The Little Bird

Amelia Canney

He shuffled across the stage to the mic. He could see the people in the audience snickering at him, pointing out his messily done tie, his shoes that had been stained from hours of work, his too-small coat. The paper he held was starting to get crumpled by his clenched hands. When he reached the microphone, the audience went silent. Even if they hated him, they knew better than to be disrespectful in front of the teachers. He cleared his throat. Unclenched his hands. Brought out his paper. Uncrumpled it. Read it.

A little bird looks from its nest
into the place beyond.
One day he’ll fly, leave for there,
to where he thought he belonged,
for the other birds inside his roost
were not very kind.
They made fun of him, you see,
always left him behind.
So he gathered up what little courage
lay beyond his feathers
and jumped, knowing he would fly
to a place that was better.

The children in the audience were silent, but he wasn’t done yet.

And as he pumped his little wings,
he rose into the air.
He flew away from his old nest
in happiness and cheer.
So when you think it’s hopeless
and nobody ever likes you,
just spread your wings, little bird,
and see what you can do.

He folded his paper and started to walk off the stage, but a swell rose from the audience and erupted in the form of the loudest cheer ever uttered in that auditorium. The students surrounded him, asking him where he had learned to write like that, what had inspired him, and many other questions. He just smiled through all of them.

At one point, a little girl piped up, “Were you the little bird?”

He turned toward her. “Yes. Of course.”


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