Poet’s Playground – April winners

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Age 8 and younger

First Place
Skip a Rock in Tennessee
Cameron Bailey, Sequachee Valley EC

My Uncle Jesse taught me how to skip a rock
First from Pawpaw’s pond dam
Then from Fall Creek Falls’ fishing dock

He told me to look carefully
To take my time
Look for a rock that is smooth, flat
And as thin as a dime

I looked real hard and found the perfect
Rock for me
I turned my side, gave the rock a toss
One, two, three splash

I was so happy I wanted to do it more and more
So I found another special rock
Gave it a toss and twist
One, two, three, four

Kerplunk!

Second Place
Spring Time in Tennessee
Maggie Williams, Cumberland EMC

Listening to Dolly’s songs
Going to the Smokies
Crops start to grow
And rain starts to fall.

Finally, the seeds get planted
Iris bloom beautifully
Tennessee looks nice and green
Further than the eye can see

Pastel colors are being worn
Its warming up from winter’s cold
You can tell its spring here in Tennessee!

Third Place
My Backyard
Jean Baczynski, Appalachian Electric Cooperative

My backyard is a sight to see,
My backyard is in Tennessee.
Birds and squirrels love my backyard
And are so often seen playing joyfully.

I like to swing and jump on my trampoline
I feel like I am a queen.
I run and jump
Sometimes so fast I cannot be seen.

I walk in the creek
In my bare feet
I catch crawdads
But never enough to eat.

My backyard is the best you see
It belongs to my family and me.
We laugh and sing
And love Tennessee.


Age 9-13

First Place
Tri-Star
Emma Laymon, Middle Tennessee EMC

We are the Tri-Star State
The three-part land
The homeland trinity
United from the Grand Divisions
We are three in one
From the flat country of the West
To the definite valleys and mountains
Of the East
Connected by the city of music
We earn our star on the country’s banner
We earn our place in America
A sea of volunteers
Contributing to the nation
As the sun ascends,
We start our day
With the remembrance
That we are the Tri-Star State

Second Place
Song of the Multitude
Luke Barnard, Gibson Electric Membership Corporation

When the heavens, o’erspread with gray,
Are split with some cacophony
As though the alluring siren song
Had wondered inland from the sea.
When tiny bodies wing their flight
O’er the clouded stormy face
And upon the skeleton trees alight
To bless with innocent grace.
“You stricken land, all dead with frost,
Your pallor’s cadaverous sheen
Will spring forth blossoms in days to come
As resurrected green.”
So sing, so sing the song of spring
Thy melody coax the earth
Let ring, let ring the song of spring
The Melody of Mirth.


Age 14-18

First Place
A Passenger
Rachel Grant, Middle Tennessee EMC

Not a driver, but rather, a passenger.
A simple plant, at the mercy of its surroundings.
We put ourselves above the humble plant,
just because we can loom over it.
But simultaneously,
we are growing next to it.
Small and weak,
and at the mercy of our surroundings.
We look down onto it,
but because we are looking down
we are blind to the looming trees.
The hills that roll around us.
The wind that snaps through us,
bending and folding us,
An ever changing wind,
and as it changes we change too.
Riding along the weather.

Second Place
Born and Created”
Cheyenne Lackey, Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation

Silky purple petals
Push themselves open
To reveal
Cities and people
In its folds
The iris
Is watered
By stars
Born and created
In the city of music
Childhoods everlasting
In the course of dreams
Delivered on our
Own stage
Before the world
The public
And its curious fingertips
Reaching for
The same precipice
Jumping headfirst
Into the Cumberland
Corners of
Busy buildings
Born and created from
Dust settling
Underneath my bare feet
Jagged edges
Unable to break
The skin
Always need thick skin to win
Born and created
In Nashville


Age 19-22

First Place
I Miss Country Music
Lane Scoggins, Duck River EMC

I miss sitting in the passenger seat
Of the happiest truck I know of
Chain-sucking the daylights out
Of a few precious American Spirits.
Sucking overpriced coffee steam and
Tennessee country ballads
out the rolled down windows.
Assuming seventeen and the residual
Heat between the folds
Of my skeleton tank top
Are concrete. Permanent
Teeth-chattering moments;
The kind I’ll learn to yearn for.
The kind I’ll beg to cup in my palms
One last time.

Second Place
Facing Home
Marlene Jenkins, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

Ice traces the back of the hill’s hand,
Curving, grasping towards the East.
Looking to the hills you find a calm place.
A familiar, worn face,
The one that you call home.

Her laugh lines creaking with memories,
The yard still lined with trees-
That you once knew.
And all at once you knew-
You grew up too.

Thankful for the home that raised you right,
You retrace your childhood role.
The one that had you inside,
When on came the streetlamps,
Early in the night.

Subtle reminders to thank,
Such as the sun that still shines-
Brighter with time.

Third Place
Hold on to Faith
Cricket Sands, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

A shimmering light, this is happiness.
But every star dies, then you’re left in darkness.
She convinced herself she’s not alright,
that she was too weak to fight.
she thought she’d end her life early,
so she climbed a building of forty stories.
She wanted to jump, she wanted to fly.
It was so very high, she felt nauseous, too scared to die.
She left the building, feeling ashamed of herself altogether,
reminding herself she wasn’t strong,
and life wouldn’t get any better.
If I could go back, and tell my former self anything,
I’d tell her she was wrong.


Age 23-64

First Place
Battlefields
Sandi Hines, Middle Tennessee EMC

Standing silhouette metal against the backdrop of sunshine soon to rotate out of sight.
My thoughts wonder of the stories this field could tell if ground had a voice.
Soldiers with loved ones waiting for their homecoming.
Tired and weary from the fighting, seeing the dying.
What has this hallowed ground experienced?
Does the earth feel?
If so, how it must weep for humankind.

Second Place
Home
Emily Goodloe, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

To hike, to wander
in this place
where beauty is so lush
Is the peace and plenty
The coolness brings a blush
to my cheeks, as I breathe
the air
so cool
so sweet
I dream of days, outside, at home
where I can feel complete.
To wander and to trust
the great expanse of trails
we balance
walk
thrive
and jump
the adventure cures what ails.
Watch it float
hear it call
It all feels a sense to me
of Tennessee
of home
outside
That’s where I want to be.

Third Place
A Tennessee Education
Paula Smith, Appalachian Electric Cooperative

We’re not just growing gardens, we’re growing children
We’re not just building houses, we’re building men
We’re not just making music, we’re making memories
Glorifying God with our family and friends

We’re not merely making meals, we’re making Mamas
We’re not merely making a living, we’re making a life
Our goal is not comfort and security
It will all be worth the struggle and strife

God doesn’t just value the product, He values the process
Those made in His image should do the same
More than just obedience, He wants a relationship
With those He created to glorify His name


Age 65 and older

First Place
Our Tennessee
Wesley Sims

Ternary regions—West, Middle, East.
Escalating topography—coastal plain
to rolling hills to plateau to soaring
mountains. Abundant water features—
Mississippi
to Cumberland to Tennessee Rivers;
Reelfoot, Old Hickory, deep Norris,
other lakes. Cotton, corn,
soybean farms
to hillside tobacco patches.
Myriad plant life. Diverse factories.
Craft shows, tomato festivals, horse
shows, mule auctions. Corner markets
to swanky shopping malls.
Tiny towns to metropolitan sprawl.
Cultural diversity with southern charm.
Celebrate the famous Grand Ole Opry.
Bluegrass, country and gospel; sidewalk
musicians to Music City concerts.
Sing it out, “This land was made for
you and me.”

Second Place
A Morning Song
Jackie Houk, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

The song usually starts
before sunrise.
You must listen to hear
you can’t see it with your eyes.

People off to work
cars going down the street.
Starts the song
with a special beat.

The trash man
as he clunks along.
Adds a different sound
to the morning song.

Morning walkers
are all about.
Making the dogs bark
which makes the owners shout.

Kids waiting on their bus
laughing & joking around.
Adds to the morning song
a different sound.

Things are getting quiet
morning song is thru.
This was God’s way of saying
Good morning to all of you!

Third Place
Winter Snapshots
Dolly Kimbel, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

The trees stand there
Looking stark and naked,
Reaching their bare arms
Toward the lukewarm sun.

The grass in considerable amounts
Has turned a mustard yellow
And it lays there dying
If it hasn’t all ready perished.

The bushes sit there
Striped of all their beauty
Seeming more dead than alive.

The moon appears
Like a round iceberg
In the sky.

The stars, if there are any,
Sparkle like crystals
Of new fallen snow.

Snapshots of Winter

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