Poet’s Playground – February Winners

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Age 8 and younger

First Place
Swimming
Kayla Lasher, Middle Tennessee EMC

I love to swim in Tennessee,
I swim very happily.
I dive off the block,
And knock off their socks,
At how happy they see me be.

I dolphin kick in streamline,
I lift my arm up, a parallel line,
I zoom down the lane,
It’s really insane!
They look and see, the relay ahead is mine.

I LOVE butterfly,
It feels like you’re taking off, ready to fly!
Do dolphin kick,
You don’t get to pick,
As they watch me swim right by!

Second Place
My Crumbs
Maggie Lu Rudd, Duck River EMC

They fall and plop
into my lap,
splat
pitter pat.
I listen
as they are
falling and plopping.
I know
my napkin is right there,
but I pay it
no heed.

Third Place
Snow in Tennessee
Jean Baczynski, Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative

The snow falls
on a cold Tennessee night.
The warm houses
glow with light.

The animals cuddle tight
soon they will sleep.
All their nuts
they will keep.

The start shine
like crystals in the sky.
The birds go to the their nest
tomorrow they will fly.

All the kids
snuggle in bed.
Their bellies are all
stuffed and fed.

Sleep well
Tennessee night.
In the morning
the sun will shine bright.

Age 9-13

First Place (tie)
Tennessee Comes By
Alyzza Johnson, Cumberland EMC

Tennessee comes by in forest slippers,
Opening in flowers bright,
Flowering like the peacock’s tail,
tulips in the meadow sunlight.

Tennessee forests surround the running stream,
Where the song birds sing,
As the Tennessee forests grow,
Showing the earth’s majestic beauty.

Tennessee comes by in forest slippers,
Opening with flowers bright.

First Place (tie)
The Two Year Old’s Cookie Jar
Anna Krog, Middle Tennessee EMC

She said “NO!”
I tell you my friend.
Mama said “NO!”
THIS IS THE END.
I shall never be happy.
Never again!

Cookie jar’s painted
Orange for Tennessee.
How I wanna behold
‘T’ shaped cookies!

I’m impatient.
Don’t want dinner.
Total tribulation!
I’m a winner!

Pull on sink!
Beat on Floor!
Jump!
Jump!
Jump!
Jump!
Now it’s war!

Hitting counter!
Screaming too!
Daddy comes in….
What’d I do?

Daddy’s down
On one knee.
“How about
Saying please?”

“Please!” I say.
I got two!
That was easy.
Glad it’s through.

Second Place
Song
Luke Barnard, Gibson Electric Membership Corporation

I gazed upon the setting sun
And all the wonders God had done
And marveled at the lowly bower
Of a bird, at every flower
All the trees around me spread
Enough to fill a wise man’s head
And thought: How, of all, can we
Mere specks upon eternity
Make our mark upon the world
So quickly turned and spun and whirled?
Then,
The answer came to me
A very simple thing,
It is only this, you see,
It is to sing.

Third Place
Untitled Poem
Isobel Dobbins, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

I was running in my yard, when I stopped to tie my lace.
For I was training to be in, the Tennessean race.

I ran for months to get ready, for that big old race.
For I badly wanted to win, that great Tennessean race.

Finally on the day of the race, the starting horn it blew,
I started jogging then running, then it looked like I flew.

I flew past the finish line, and got twenty seventh place.
For I had run backwards, at that great Tennessean race.

Age 14-18

First Place
Winter Wind
Rachel Grant, Middle Tennessee EMC

Does it pull me apart or does it complete me?
These icy winds that blow.
Sweeping through the belle morning,
flavoring the soft sunrise above.
As the cold settles, so do I.
Listening to the few birds,
who still stretch their necks to sing.
A grey whisper spills over,
flooding silver roads,
Kissing noses and biting hands.
The yellow sun sleeps,
Under a blanket of quiet hills.
And a white moon shines,
Over a huddle of stretching trees.
Yes, I may be cold,
Standing among the greys.
But because I am grey,
I know what it is to be red.

Second Place
Tulip Poplar
Carder Venable, Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation

The yellow,
The green,
The orange peeking through

It crests
A mighty hill,
Proud of its bold hue.

Along comes
A robin, who
Plucks a tender bough

To use
In her nest
As winter keeps his vow.

Then comes
The vile ivy
Who creeps into its bark

Using it
To grow, while
Leaving its ugly mark.

Finally comes
A man,
An ax in his hand

The sting
Of the blade
Is more than it could stand.

Alas, it
Did not cry out
When faced with this brute

The first
Volunteer,
And we should follow suit.

Third Place
Our Iris Tragedy
Anny Riggs

How they bloom in the midst of indifference,
The Irises, such a deep and clear purple.
The old Tennessee town grows them there.

Far away from the roads, the buildings, the people,
They grow in plain sight.
The Irises, not unwanted, but simply forgotten.

Far away from eyes and minds,
The Irises seem to bloom for only themselves.

It’s a shame that no one recognizes their tragic beauty,
And their aroma which smells of sweet, old Tennessee.

For now, the Irises will dance in the breeze,
They will sway to their own music.

Age 19-22

First Place
Fawn Left in the Snow
Emory Larson, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

There is a deer in the snow.
My grandfather is beside me,
breath like tendrils of smoke.
But it’s only frosted breath,
crystallized air, once warm,
alive.
The deer reflects this action,
breathing just as he does,
outlined by evergreen,
covered by stark white.
More snowflakes fall, swoon
and melt upon contact
with fur, with skin.
A single step forward,
a human footprint (bare),
covering what once was hoof.
A huff
and she is gone,
leaving only tracks
in the quickly falling drift.
I am alone in winter.

Second Place
Christmas Memories
Tasha Parsons, Pickwick Electric Cooperative

November has come and gone
December is here and now
The cold is right under our noses
And The Christmas spirit is right upon us

Homes are decorated with bright and sparkly enlightenment
Trees are ornamented with new and sentimental items
Streets are decorated with spectacular lights and décor

Families gather together
To view the beautiful decorations,
To see each other’s eyes light up when presents are opened
To spend another year with the ones they love dearly
And last but not least
To create the everlasting memories everyone will cherish forever.

 

Age 23-64

First Place
A Winter’s Afternoon
Terry Weaver, Duck River EMC

She seems to lean, ever more gently,
Almost imperceptibly,
Beneath the weight of another year
And the fresh blanket
Of goose down snowflakes.

Ancient red paint fades
To weathered gray.
Her distinctive roof unreadable.
Suddenly, brief sunshine breaks through
Then just as quickly vanishes…
And we can See Rock City
Again.

The afternoon stills and hushes.
Rusted tractor, forgotten implements,
Sagging fenceposts,
Quilted by silent whiteness.

Wafting delicately on the
Fresh, frigid breeze —
The scent of pine needles
And embers of firewood oak.

Regal and resplendent,
The cardinal perches on dogwood branch
Postcard perfect.

All is beautiful at first snow.

Second Place
Fourteen
Scott Dockery

The hills above
the town
stripped to dirt by flame,
fire borne on
mighty winds, eating
houses with a hunger
the firemen cannot
contest. The firemen
stay when others
flee, until spent
they sit and stare.
The town,
wreathed in smoke,
saved and empty.

Greenery
in spring
cannot disguise scorched
brick and stone,
lonely chimneys
like arms of grief,
obscene markers
of loss loss loss.
Roads, wreathed in quiet,
speak of those
who never came
down from the hills
but live yet in
tear-raped hearts.

Third Place
River
Cory Hussey, Pickwick Electric Cooperative

Unencumbered past,
Rising with the season.
Washing over fields,
With silt for plow.

On quieted coves,
With cackle and honks.
They light upon stilled waters,
To feast in the bounty.

Beneath those paddled feet,
The gilled brethren.
Unseen from above ’til reaped,
In nets, lines, and talons.

Overhead flash white,
Eagle and Osprey,
Visitors: Pelican and Gull,
Watch with weathered eye the flow.

Encumbered by monolith,
Contained yet never tamed.
Turned turbine for light,
Reflected in water’s night.

‘Til morning sun,
Reaches new water.
Forever flowing,
Unencumbered once more.

Age 65 and older

First Place
Spring’s First Swim
Linda Clarke

Quivering, shivering, anticipating
I dip my toes
Into the clear stream
Fed from the mountains around me
Its bounty tumbling, twisting, churning
Over rocks and boulders
Until it finds my peaceful spot.

Jumbled, scattered, abandoned
My clothes lie on the river’s bank.
I take more tentative steps
Shrieking, shaking, sharply my breath in-taking
I swim in a shallow pool wondering
why I thought it wise to swim in early
May’s cool breath.

Second Place
A Volunteer
Marcella Spence, Duck River Electric Cooperative

The color “orange” does not mean just throwing a ball
And just finding their need by making a call
Decide how to go – whether rain, sleet or snow
Find a need to give a helping hand
For those that are feeling very low.

Round up others to help with the job
Tom, Dick, Harry and also Bob
Food, clothing and shelter, are needed real bad
Even encouragement that they never had.

Warm clothing, shoes, towels and soap
Food for the hungry that gives them hope.
Kind words needed to build their trust
In ordinary people……just like us.

Third Place
Smokey Mountains
Shirley McCoy, Duck River Electric Cooperative

Have you ever seen snow falling
Over the beautiful mountains of Tennessee
With air crisp and cold, and branches bending low
With icicles hanging from trees
Maybe if you listen closely
Through the cold December wind
You’ll hear the sound of birds overhead
Looking for a place to descend
The water rushing over the rocks
Splashing on the newly fallen snow
Calls to you in all its splendor
As if putting on a show
As nightfall touches the snow banks
There’s no place I’d rather be
Than this extraordinary view of nature
In the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee

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