Paper Wings – A Poem


A poem on growing up for dVersePoets

“When I grow up”
(She pauses)
With a puff to
Blow back sticky
Dark chocolate
Bangs to see
More clearly
“I want to be a hero”
She whispers
As she fiddles
With her
Powder Pink
Chubby crayon-
Wax sticking to
The side of
Her tiny hand
Smudging rainbows
On the page
Frazzled, she
Starts over
Lost in a “Narnia
Of thoughts
She wonders
Just how old a
Hero should be
And what they
Might look like
Not like her
That’s for sure
She furrows her
Brow in a
No nonsense
Determined way
Biting her little
Lower lip
With worry
While a tear
Drops, splashing
Down onto
Her drawing
As she prays
For wings again.

Gretchen Leary 2013


About Gretchen Venters

I am 36 years old and I live in Montana. God has set my soul on fire to serve others through writing.
This entry was posted in Autism, Poetry and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

70 Responses to Paper Wings – A Poem

  1. brian miller says:

    mmm….heroes come in all shapes and sizes…and with all kinds of backgrounds…i think we all have those shadows in our history that can keep us from feeling like heroes…but we can all be them as well….my heart pinged for her there in the end…

  2. stuartmcphersonpoet says:

    Gretchen, this is beautifully sad. It made me think about a child, who knowing of the hardship of the world, it’s adulthood, so desperately wants to escape again into the world of fantasy. We might not want to admit it, but as children, this happens to us all. Great poem and one I relate to completely

  3. This is beautiful…how children think…how old is a heroe? Lovely and we should all pray for wings.

    • Thank-you, so true too. I had odd fears. My mother had no idea that I was on the Autism Spectrum, no one did I guess. There were the mild hints but nothing over the top either. But I was an extremely anxious child.

  4. I hope she becomes a hero!

  5. Laurie Kolp says:

    Lost in a Narnia of thoughts… I love that, Gretchen.

    • I was such a fan of C.S. Lewis’ The Lion “The Witch & The Wardrobe” as a child which is odd because I have a vivid imagination but did not know how to play with other children. It was my sparkling snow fantasy place just for me to think was just beyond the boxes and clothes in my closet(s) (as we moved so often) to be calm.

  6. Grace says:

    I like the little girl dreaming of growing up to be a hero ~ Love this one Gretchen ~

  7. ahhh – doesn’t she have wings and isn’t she a hero? A truly beautiful poem, Gretchen – just lovely. K

  8. Mary says:

    I enjoyed this! Little girls have to know they CAN grow up to be heroes; and if one has to find a place to escape to, Narnia is a good one for sure.

    • Narnia was the only one left. I was told in a no nonsensical way that Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the tooth fairy were not real before I was four. And of course I told everyone at school. But Narnia, I kept for myself so I wouldn’t be told. Naturally, she never mentioned Narnia, so that could still be real. πŸ™‚

  9. carolineskanne says:

    beautiful poem! thanks for sharing … heartfelt ❀

  10. cloudfactor5 says:

    Since she’s tugging my heartstrings, I’m pulling for her! beautifully hopeful,

    • I was a cute kid I guess but hopelessly anxious. I apparently left a note for my mom as a kid before bed that if I didn’t wake up to give all my toys away. I was a very odd child as there was no reason for me to even think this way…Thank-you for reading my poem!

  11. The pink crayons were always the best ones… I have a very early recollection of a friend at nursery (I must have been about 4 years old) who would eat them…. Wonder where she is now… πŸ™‚

  12. Poet Laundry says:

    Aww…beautiful and heartbreaking…really enjoyed this read…my kids are my heroes, sticky chocolate and crayons and all…they have saved me, in many ways. Wonderful write.

  13. I love the bangs, love the little girl in the poem and, dammit, I want to DRAW her those wings! So well done!

  14. Really love the style, language and delivery of this. It had a kind of film noir feel about it to me, like you we painting a scene on that paper. I instantly imagined the little girl and felt that she came across powerfully but also very affected. You made me think, and you made me see… And i like that. Thanks Gretchen.

  15. tashtoo says:

    We’re you peeking in my window this morning? πŸ˜‰ Fantastic play to the prompt Gretchen! Love the delivery and the images conjured…and that you used crayons πŸ˜‰ Wonderful!

  16. Well done! I definitely Enjoyed that read

  17. C Rose says:

    wonderful telling….

    “She pauses
    With a puff to
    Blow sticky
    Dark chocolate
    Bangs to see
    More clearly”

    absolute perfect image grabbed me…the perfect daring, feminine captured. Wonderful words ~ Rose

  18. Imelda says:

    Oh how beautifully written. You pictured the girl so well. πŸ™‚

  19. Rod E. Kok says:

    I love poems about children. You have captured this child perfectly! What a wonderful poem. Thanks for sharing!

  20. claudia says:

    oh i can just picture her sitting and dreaming..and oh heroes have so many different shapes and forms…i’m sure she has the heart to be one…smiles

  21. I love reading about peoples’ childhoods and comparing them to my own.Enjoyed!

  22. Brilliant imagery and constructed with a great economy of language.

  23. Wonderful picture your words paint…ONE::

  24. franzad says:

    what a nice poem, i coul see you, sitting there, worrying like only children can. I can so relate as i too was a bit like that, and maybe am still a little…funny how poetry can throw us back in time every so often.

  25. zongrik says:

    this has a perfect tone about a dreamy child

  26. Other Mary says:

    Awww – this one pulls at the heart-strings. And it’s so tenderly rendered.

  27. ManicDdaily says:

    This is really terrific, Gretchen – – one can see and feel the little stubby crayon drawing, and the puffing away of the chocolate bangs. Really lovely. k.

  28. Gretchen, so touching. I guess we all dreamt of becoming heroes, having wings. And I have to believe we do just that in those small moments and choices we make throughout life.

  29. This one hits home with me, Gretchen. I dreamed of being a hero, but had to give up and go to work at much too young an age. My choices, my results, but still… makes ya wonder, “what if?”

  30. Such a vivid picture, not just the portrait of the child, but the portrait inside her head, of the way she thinks. And oh, that tear, like a raindrop smearing the rainbow of crayon colors.

  31. Dick Jones says:

    The more effective and poignant for the short lines and simple language. Vivid and evocative.

  32. A very noble aspiration, to want to be a hero at such a young age. I think there is one lying dormant in each of us, just waiting for the right time to show him or herself! A perfect capture of the hopes and dreams of a thoughtful young child. Nicely penned.

    • Thank-you! I just wrote a poem called Maybe (just posted) that revisits this dream as an adult (Inspired by Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror”) It’s so true though, we all want to be a hero in some way. πŸ™‚

  33. lucychili says:

    what does a hero do? who does have wings? what do they look like? i dont know if i am a spectrum person i am too old for the idea but i remember designing my coffin, grave, with steps down to a nice underground house with swimming pool and steps back up to a horse ranch. so i understand escapism =) it is a strange thing to view our adultness from the vivid dreams of childhood. i thought i would be a mum. learning to fit and grow seems to be a lifelong business. perhaps we need to make ourselves some wings and see if it feels different =).

  34. indeed be a poet for some people used to filter the reality and live in a different way, for other people to be a poet means to seek a personal truth, for others it is a cure for the mind. Great poem, very well written.

  35. Tony says:

    This is absolutely, breathtakingly gorgeous. Reading this I saw the little girl, I saw her aspiration, her questioning of her ambition (what do heroes look like?), her realisation that hereos don’t look like her (how wrong she was – heroes come in all shapes and sizes) and the heatbreak of that moment. Stunning.

  36. brian miller says:

    hey dropped back a post…i am supposed to host Poetics next Saturday…was wondering if you wanted to guest host and come up with a prompt and tend pub for me..i will still be around but…let me know…

    btm2007 (at) yahoo

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