Poet’s Playground – February winners

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Age 8 and younger

First Place
Growing Up on the Farm

Samuel Agee, Sequachee Valley EC

I love living in Tennessee;
It’s my favorite place to be.
I love holding my baby chicks,
But soon their feed I’ll have to mix.
I like watching the baby lambs;
They love eating out of my hands.
My ducks like splashing in the pond;
They seem to share a special bond.
Our rabbits love to run and play;
They really like alfalfa hay.
We now have two Great Pyrenees;
They love to be petted by me.
Lady is the fluffiest cat.
Sisco is our little tomcat.
My fav’rite goat is Oliver;
I love his fuzzy dark brown fur.

Second Place
The Best Place Ever

Corban Collins, MTEMC

It’s where I live.
When I look, I see it.
Oh city, I love it.
I love the beautiful sky,
glittering in the sunshine.
I see the planes flying,
rushing in the sky.
I see the birds flying around the Tennessee flag.
I look around and see the beautiful flowers.
I love this place so much.
Once I remember, Tennessee is
The best place ever to live.

Third Place
The Batman Building

Caroline Franklin, Cumberland EMC

Batman building up so high
Like a light in the sky.
I see it like a twinkling star
In my car.
Its ears point to the moon
Like a rising balloon.


Age 9-13

First Place
Tennessee’s Song
Abby Morris, Caney Fork EC

The world is alive
I can feel its heartbeat steady
The world stands still here
The only sound is the river
Over a bed of soft stones
Worn smooth by the ages
The birds join in with joy
As their song is heard
The wind rustles in the leaves
The sweet sound of crickets
As they start their own song
The wonderful song of Tennessee
Runs through our veins
The world is alive
We can feel its heartbeat steady

Second Place
The Sunrise
Noah Whitaker, Duck River EMC

The sun rises
With a new day full of surprises
The birds give off a pleasantful chirp
The beautiful irises await for a slurp of water
This does not deter the tulip poplar
It simply begs for is to not decay
The night seizes day
The moon comes out to play
Bringing its creatures along the way
The fireflies blink their lights gleefully
While the racoons sneakily creep
The cycle begins a new
As the Earth begins to skew

Third Place
In the Vegetable Garden
Macy Sanders, Caney Fork EC

It is so much fun growing plants,
Planting the onions,
Setting out the radish seeds,
Making salads out of spinach and lettuce,
Cutting the broccoli tops,
Seeing the beans sprout,
Sowing the cucumber seeds,
Waiting for the tomatoes to bloom,
Watching the watermelons grow on vines,
Digging up the last of the potatoes,
Picking the perfect banana peppers,
Pulling up lots of carrots,
Shucking tons of corn,
Watching all the crops getting harvested,
Picking a lot of okra,
Freezing zucchini and squash,
Growing crops is so much fun.


Age 14-18

First Place
The Wailing Wind
Emma Williams, Middle Tennessee EMC

The wailing wind
Quiet howling
Slipping between boards of the house
Ringing, ringing in my ears,
The wind
Before a storm it cries out
Moaning
Wailing, wailing
The wailing wind.

A forced whimper
As the sound dashes all about
Calling, calling from above
The wind
On a dark night
Creeping up,
Screeching
Wailing, wailing
The wailing wind.

As it ceases
Calming down as the rain begins
Pitter patter, and it slows
The wind
As it settles
For the night,
Still wailing softly
The wailing wind.

Second Place
Tennessee Sunrise Sonnet
Audrey Moorehead, Appalachian EC

Over the hills our lovely sun rises
Summoning light and bringing day to all;
O’er hills our sky materializes
Casting shadows on our old, weath’ring walls.
In the trees the birds begin shouting joy
As beauty leaks into their forest home
And gently awakens the hoi polloi,
Creatures who live and breathe simply to roam.
Water bubbles over deep, rocky beds
As sunlight streams and glints on morning dew
That deftly hides glittering copperheads
Lying still, waiting to bid their prey adieu.
The glory of the morning sun brings light
And vanquishes our dreadful, lonesome night.

Third Place
What Once Was Will Always Be
Sierra Barnes, Duck River EMC

At swift glance all you see is a tale of despair
But look closely and you see your judgement is far from fair
Its life was filled with stares of admiration
As it traveled the roads exploring the nation
Those days are gone yet its memory lives on
For I pass by its resting place every dawn
The atmosphere is calming like a tranquil ocean
Washing me with winds that radiate pure devotion
I feel invincible watching life grow amongst ashes
Inspiring me with leaves of gold and brilliant flashes
And I will always agree
My heart belongs to Tennessee


Age 19-22

First Place
To Live
Evan Mattingly

To live is to know
to know is to feel
to feel is to show
to show is to be real,

To be real is to love
to love is to die
to die you must try
again and again.

Again and again
to the outermost end
till there is no more to mend
then you will know the end.

To know the end
you first have to live,
live to begin
after each end.


Age 23-64

First Place
Tennessee Easter
Sarena Mason, Middle Tennessee EMC

April weather unpredictable,
but sunrise service sure,
in uncomfortable new dresses
not to be stained,
whether with sweaters
or sleeveless remained,
we’d wake up too early
for us kids in the dark,
pile into the car, sleep our way to the park.

Cahly in small heels
she hadn’t learned to walk in,
Mamma in pearls and pastels
hushin’ our bickerin’,
Daddy in a tie and clean work clothes,
we walked to the riverbank
before the sun rose.

A magical moment
the preacher spoke,
we all were One,
hope awoke.

Peace and goodwill
lasted as far
as the car.

Second Place
Write-In Votes
Ramon Presson, Middle Tennessee EMC

I elect the steaming cup of coffee
before the sun comes up and morning hits its stride.

I elect the dawn’s deer
grazing at the edge of a Franklin pasture.

I elect the dogwood tree in my backyard
that blooms on cue at Easter.

I elect the daring sparrow
that snatches a muffin crumb from my plate.

I elect the sounds of children
playing in a limited-edition Tennessee snow.

I elect the birds at dusk
crowding the lobbies of 5-star trees at check-in.

I elect the scent of honeysuckle
hitching a ride on a late spring breeze.

Third Place
Groundbreaking
Hunter Keough, Pickwick EC

crisp wind careens across the water,
wet with birds. i’m making coffee
with tap water because life is
whatever you’ve been taught
life imitates. memphis’ mississippi
cups fog between dreams; i
nurse Folger’s sleepily; earth
sugar-milked with steam.
there are questions that only arise
in mornings when existence
& the perception of existence are far
less distinct. why this brand of coffee?
what do birds know that i don’t?
someone’s mumbling groggy worship –
i’m wondering if life is a sleep –


Age 65 and older

First Place
Eagle Eye
Sandra Armstrong, Middle Tennessee EMC

Thoughtfully I soar through a cloud-white haze.
Whispering breezes share my serenity.
Tufts of soft nothingness keep me aloft.
The world’s sounds cannot penetrate my world.
Clouds part; the sun warms me.
Silken zephyrs buoy the full expansion of my wings.
Slowly I circle, descend and glide.
Hushed ribbons of emerald Firs beckon me.
Rivers rush forth in merriment.
Forest friends gaze in respectful admiration.
Deeply I breathe in contentment; return to my nest.
Peruse the beauty below, and sigh … my Tennessee.

Second Place
Nature’s Rebirth
Betty Jackson, Duck River EMC

Ancient Smokey Mountains and peaks faithfully showing boldness and strength.
Mountains that once shouldered the forest of trees, quickly
undressed by the extremities that took away its beauty.
Pathways will once again give way to the wild fern and intrusive Mt. Laura.
Waterfalls generously giving to streams below. Chunning over
the wet shining rocks, never left.
Black Bear will migrate back to their home.
Birds will again perch and sing on the growth of the young trees.
Everything will find its place.
Time will give back our Great Smokey Mountains.

Third Place
A Broken Hearted House
Martha Page, Meriwether Lewis EC

There’s a broken hearted house
Standing by the road
down in Graham, Tennessee
Rust covers the roof
there is no door to welcome in
and no children to play
or to smell the lillies.

I wonder as I gaze
upon this long neglected house
who left it in such desrepair.
I Seem to hear it whisper
As a sigh upon the wind
I have no one to love me or to care

Once I stood so proud and tall
I was proud to be called home
Now no smiling face I see
So I stand in solitude alone.

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