Poet’s Playground – April winners

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Age 8 and younger

First Place
My State Flower
Zoey Gammon, Middle Tennessee EMC

In the state of Tennessee
They are everywhere
You go!
Makes me proud to be a Tennessean
Nice and beautiful
Soft and pretty
The Iris
Dancing in the night, sad that no one is there to see it but the stars
And the stars twinkle happily above coming closer to earth
For the Iris
A flower so beautiful
And pretty
So purple
Oh, for the Iris
One of my favorite flowers!

Age 9-13

First Place
The Blossom Tree
Morgan Zukas, Middle Tennessee EMC

Near the blossom tree
When the crisp, cool wind is dancing
Where the mockingbirds sing
And the raccoon burrows
Near a cool stream
Where the catfish and
Smallmouth bass are swimming
And where the big black bear
Is caring for its cubs
The sun is rising with a golden splash of color
And the sweet smell of the iris
Is spreading throughout the forest
And the fog is lifting over the hills
Adventuring back into the sky
It is another great day to roam the majestic forest
And live in the Great State of Tennessee

Age 14-18

First Place
Crimson Orchard
Cole Robertsen, Holston EC

Blushing azalea dancers, cherry petals on the tree
Dance through crawling mist, in morning’s glee
Billowing skirts, sending scents of sakura through Tennessee hills
Through house kitchens, and windmills
Plump infant, dripping flavorful dew
Cherries abundant, color triumphant too
Rich red juices spill out, reminding those of home
The possibilities to make, from jams to whipped cherry foam
The barren trees, preparing for next year
Saukra plants, in bloom right here
In this orchard, in Tennessee hills
The thoughts of next year, the tastes and thrills

Age 19-22

First Place
Old Photograph
Evan Mattingly

On my desk is a photograph of you taken by the person who loved you then.
In some photos your shadow falls in the foreground.
In this one, your body is not far from perfect.
Did you tilt your head that way because he loved it?
Of all your old photographs,
I wanted this one for its emotion.
I think you were starting to turn your head back, eyes looking slightly to the sun.
Were you thinking of me?
Or to pack your bags and run.

Age 23-64

First Place
Granny’s Irises
Dena Russell, Duck River EMC

Purple petals pushed together in a Mason jar
Sugary scent hand-picked from Granny’s yard
Delivered to our table every spring.
Shared with family, love in lilac sings.
Lifted bulbs move with me
All over Middle Tennessee.
Waiting just below the earth,
Bursting through, give memories birth;
When three little children in an Easter pose
By a split rail fence in Poplar Grove
Bend to sniff the candied blooms
Of great-grandmother’s floral heirlooms.
Full circle back to Maury County,
The years have yielded a fragrant bounty.
Sweet purple memories traveled so far
To sit on my table in a Mason jar

Age 65 and older

First Place
Bottled Memories
Shirley Ann K. Shurtz, Duck River EMC

I took some jars
Out in my yard
Running all day to
Tasks, fairly hard.
I didn’t look again
Until evening fell.
Well, there they were,
All full of summer.
I gathered them,
Put on lids and rings.
Put them away with
Other things.
On a blustery winter’s day
I picked at random
One of those jars.
Opened it.
Breathed the summer’s air,
Felt the wind in my hair,
Felt the butterflies,
The birds,
The green, green trees.
It may seem silly
As can be,
But today
I opened
A memory.

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