This is an excerpt from a poem that touches on brittleness and courage, and, unfortunately, tragedy: “Paul’s Fingers,” by Mary O’Neill, from her collection of children’s poems Fingers Are Always Bringing Me News. While not part of any longer storyline, I think this poem still relates to fiction writing in terms of the depth of emotion that can be found in a simple theme and expressed from a child’s vantage point.
“My fingers have held a fallen baby bird,
And felt fright jump under its skin,
And felt the hope of rescue,
And living begin again.
As its claws, weak as threads,
Clamped my fingers. Brave, but
too hurt, too weak, too thin” (lines 25-31).
O’Neill, Mary. Fingers Are Always Bringing Me News. Illustrated by Don Blognese. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1969. Print. Pages 18-19.