Tabatha A. Yeatts



Through the Keyhole #1 by Harry W. Yeatts Jr.

By Kathryn W.
Winner, 11-12 year-old category

A wall.
Gray and black.
Scratch at the wall
Scratch deep.
Cut all the way through.
Find the keyhole,
And maybe the key to the hole

Oh have you found it?
Yes, turn the key.
Turn slowly…
For what waits on the other side
Is something worth waiting for.
And open the door.

Look and see a world
Of color and light
The beauty of the world is only for
The key bearer to know,
But perhaps I can tell it.
Perhaps I will get away.
So come close and listen-
It must be told softly.

Softly and slowly, calmly and peacefully.
Be patient and one will understand.
Now watch the world-
Do you see it?
Do you hear it?
Think hard, you can be there too.

A bird is in the corner.
It twitches and begins to sing.
Follow the bird.
Follow it to an empty field,
And listen.

Listen, and hear the earth talking-
Hear the grass rising and the flowers opening,
Hear the bugs thinking know what they mean,
Feel the beauty of the earth.
You have been closing your eyes to listen,
Do not do so.
Open and now see the world.

The flowers are indeed opening.
The bugs are indeed speaking.
Watch and listen,
Now you must know.

Breathe deeply and greet the earth.
The earth is glad to meet you.
The earth knows so much,
You might stay and listen.
Or leave.

Go to that forest.
Over there-
There is something there,
Something small,
Something with wings.

I think it is a faerie.
Watch the faerie for a while.
If you are lucky it might let you approach.
Ok, you can come.
The faerie might speak,
Again, listen, take a breath…
No, wait.
The faerie motions,
You must now follow the faerie.

But how? The faerie will fly.
It's not as if you can’t.
This is the real world now,
Spread your wings.
Follow the faerie.

Yes, see, it is easy to fly.
It comes naturally,
Like a fish learning to swim.
Speaking of fish,
The faerie seems
To be landing.

Follow her to the lake.
The lake with the water glistening,
Glistening like a dozen crystals,
Or a thousand dew drops in the newly risen sun.
But the lake is so peaceful.
It is not right,
Where are the animals?

Maybe we should listen again to find the animals.
Or maybe we should leave.
Have you learned enough?
I did not think so,
The world is so much larger than this,
So much more beautiful…
Look, a mouse.

The mouse will sit quietly, twitching its whiskers-
Its clear whiskers that feel a thousand things.
I think it senses us.
Let us follow the mouse.
Follow it back through the forest,
Maybe to a tree house.

Yes, to the tree house.
Climb to the tree house.
There are plenty of things to do here,
Perhaps we can study a leaf.
But what happened to the faerie?
And the bird?
And the mouse?
Oh, they are here too.
Perhaps they will talk to you now.

Listen, the bird speaks first.
But birds cannot speak!
That is what you think.
Be patient and listen,
There is a rustle of noise.
What is it?
Listen closer.

It is the bird.
The bird tells a tale,
A tale of a beautiful land with mystical creatures.
Creatures that you thought did not exist.
Well, they do here,
Pay close attention and you will understand.

The bird is telling its tale.
The bird is flying
Over beautiful golden mountains
And orange-red trees.
A river is there.
See the fish? They could be interesting to meet.

The river is sparkling in the majestic setting sun.
It reflects the sparkling rich globe,
And the bird sees this.
It is beautiful.

In the woods-
Squirrels are there
Scurrying for nuts
Before the fall.
The orange leaves crackle under their light footsteps.
An owl calls.
It is time for the bird to leave,
It must get to its chicks.

The bird swerves.
It feels its red and blue feathers rustling,
And hears the wind careening past
Its fragile body.
Which, for a strange reason, is oddly peaceful.
Not strange or scary at all.

The clouds have been turning pink and orange
With the sun’s rays.
Now the pink and orange are turning to purple.
The bird must move, it is getting late.

The bird dive-bombs to her nest,
But pulls up.
She does not want to hurt her babies.
Soon she settles the babies.
They eat and are now ready for bed.
The sun has set.

The clouds have turned deep purple;
It is time to sleep.
The bird mother sings her beautiful song-
It sounds like a dozen bells chiming,
But lighter, like a feather of sound falling,
Putting them to sleep.

The bird has stopped telling her story.
Maybe it is the faerie’s turn?
Yes, the faerie talks.
Listen closely,
Her voice is very soft,
But if you can hear-
It sounds like angels singing.

Oh good, you will like this story.
The faerie tells of her homeland,
It is a peaceful and tranquil place.
Listen, this should be good.

The faerie is dancing in the moonlight.
It reflects off her wings
As she sings the tale of beauty and majesty.
The lake is where she is,
It too, reflects,
Like a huge dark monster,
With an amazing glint of light in the center.
Yes, it must be the moon.
Look closer- the stars are there too.

The voice of the faeries does not carry far,
But it does not fade.
Listen closely and hear the sound of angels.
Yes, that is the faeries.
They are singing of a distant place,
But no one can understand except for themselves
To anyone, it sounds beautiful but indistinguishable.
That’s ok, it’s still nice.

Oh, the faeries are stopping.
They fly away to bed,
For these faeries are nocturnal.
It is almost dawn.
Our faerie glides south,
Her home must be beyond the lake.

As she flies, the reflection of the moon is cast
All around her. She seems to be glowing.
The world is sleeping, but she does not care.
There is more space for her that way.

The flaps of her wing barely cast any air
For they are so thin, yet she can fly higher than any bird.
Oh, no, it seem she is stopping.
The reason is none can hear of her home-
They might hurt it.
Try to understand, it is not her fault,
It is against her law.

Now it could be the mouse’s turn.
Listen… Do you hear a sound?
It does not sound like a squeak, does it?
No, the real voice of the mouse is actually
Pretty soft.
Not squeaky, but kind of airy.
Which means you must listen hard.

The mouse is running through a forest.
It must be night, but the sun should be rising soon.
He needs to be out early, or else larger animals would eat him.

The mouse’s ears are very tuned in-
He can hear so much.
There is a worm squirming underground.
And a squirrel is snoring in a tree nearby.
It’s pretty funny, it’s ok to laugh.
Squirrels snoring… I bet you’ve never heard anything like it!
A nice deep rumble… never mind.
The mouse is realizing that he is off topic.
Sorry, he says.

The mouse is running faster now.
Can you hear his heart pounding?
It is beating faster.
The hair on his gentle body waves in the draft he is creating;
It is a beautiful sight.

The fallen leaves actually are not crunching.
The mouse has learned to run silently-
It helps him survive.
The trees overhead cast orange shadows on the mouse.
They are not large, for the sun is just starting to rise.

A smell drifts by the mouse.
Berries? Yes, berries.
The mouse speeds to the source, and there is a bush.
Not just a bush, a berry bush.
Swiftly moving, the mouse makes quick work of the bush.
He crams all he can into his mouth and darts to his hole.

Crawling down the tube, he is cautious.
If there are snakes, he is in great danger.
His whiskers twitch. To the right, to the left.
His golden hair bristles. Did he just smell something?
No, it is not a snake. The mouse climbs into his hole.
He settles down, dropping the extra berries.
He will save those for later.

The sun has risen. A soft glow flows into the den.
The light floods the room, only to find the mouse sleeping.
The berries sit half squished in a corner.
Listen. Is the mouse talking?
No, I think he stopped. He probably does not wish to continue.
He might not want to tell us what he dreamt.
That is ok, you have learned much, have you not?

It is time to go.
Climb down the ladder.
A river is at the bottom.
A fish waits there for you.
He will not tell you a story, for you could not hear through the water.
But he can guide you.

Follow the fish.
He takes you back through the forest,
And back through to the field.
The sun is now bright overhead.
A whole hour must have passed since you came.
But you still have the key, right? Good.

Take one last look around you.
Listen. The animals say good-bye.
No, listen harder. The earth is talking as well.
She is wishing you a safe journey home.
Watch the grass grow and the flowers bloom-
This could be the last time you find this place.

Oh, here come your friends.
The bird is dancing back and forth.
Her wings might be waving.
Wave back.
She is leaving.
Now it is the faerie’s turn.
She does a graceful loop in the air, fly to and fro.
Wave to her as well.
She is leaving too.
Wait, the mouse is crawling up your shirt!
His whiskers tickle your cheek.
Listen, he is saying good-bye.
Pat him on the head and set him down.
He will leave as well.

The fish is getting impatient,
He knows we must go.
Take a deep breath.
Walk to the door.
Put in the key.

Yes, turn the key.
Turn slowly,
This world is worth lingering in.
Don’t worry though-
It will always be with you.
Just remember today and you’ll be fine.
Now walk forward.

We’re back.
Turn around.
What do you see?
I think the world has gone.
Yes, it is just a wall.
You might scratch at the wall.
You might insert a key.
But I don’t think you should.
Each time is different.
It is better to just remember
That you went there.
Keep the memories good.
Until next time.
Besides, your mother is calling.
Do you hear her?
Yes, you should go.

Just remember-
When you want a peaceful place,
Come back.
The wall will be waiting
Along with another adventure.
But now go.
Now is not the time to linger.
Come soon,
Come back to the wall.
The keyhole will be waiting.

Return to the contest results page

Return to Tabatha's main page