Sunday, April 11

Poet’s Playground – April winners

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Age 8 and younger

First Place
Cold Winter Day
Eli Carr, Caney Fork EC

Days of Winter are so cold but fun
Snow falls, winds call
It’s so cold in days of Winter in
Tennessee
Go sledding, ice skating, making
snowmen even though it’s very cold
It is so much fun on that cold
Winter day

Age 9–13

First Place
The Family Show
Josephine Packard, Middle Tennessee Electric

We walk through the streets
of Nashville,
smiles painted on our faces.
Instruments in hand,
as we walk through sidewalk spaces.
We pick up our pace
as we find a place
to start our family show.
People stop and smile,
knowin’ we’ve been playing for a while.
Their boots have a beat
as they tap their feet
to our little family show.
After a bit,
we use our tips
at the candy shop nearby.
Broadway sights and Honky Tonk lights
and our happy family show.

Second Place
Red Barn on a Hill
Audrey Rodriquez, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

Red barn on a hill
With a pond and a mill
Hardly visible behind the brush Everything seems to go hush

Red barn on a hill
Where Jack and Jill
Fell at most alarming rates
That is what is past these gates

Red barn on a hill
Where you look until
Ugly duckling’s in your sights
He doesn’t give you chills or frights

Red barn on a hill
Where a boy named Jack let spill
Magic beans that grew to the sky
Letting down a giant, miles high

Red barn on a hill
With a pond and a mill

Third Place
The Leaves and the Wind
Becket Smith, Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative

The Wind blows the Leaves where it wants.
The Leaves don’t get to decide.
They go when they’re asked,
They’re always up for the ride.
But there’s one Leaf that wants,
To fall when he thinks is right.
But the Wind wants his Leaf to listen,
He doesn’t want to have to fight.
The Leaves should be obedient.
They should neither grumble nor fuss.
Now I want you to think of this poem,
As the Wind being God and Leaves us.

Age 14–18

First Place
Memory Box
Sheerea Yu, Middle Tennessee Electric

I’m five years old, you guide my hands,
help me draw our stuffed animals.
I’m seven we make up stories,
school, house, still visceral.
I’m fourteen we explore Radnor,
you can drive now, just casual.
Later you paint the image crystallized,
Brush traveling easy
as water, our shared blood bleeding
As a sunset solidified,
Over the lake.
I’m almost sixteen, you’re
eighteen, college close to tangible.
I’m still sixteen but
[error, error, unclear descriptor]
What if you overwrite our
bright worlds, blazing lives,
Somehow —
They decolorize?
I don’t worry, my sister.
These brilliant red days,
I’ll keep them safe.

Second Place
The Name Earned
Megan DiCello, Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

We’re called the Volunteer State,
But so many have so soon forgotten how we got that name,
How many drops of blood and ounces of pain,
How many sacrifices were made.
To earn us that name.

A title is given at birth, we are Tennessee,
But a name like that is earned by sacrifice of people long before you and me,
We are the volunteer state, or so we used to be.
We must strive to not forget the sacrifice and pain,
That earned us that name.

Third Place
Rocky Top’s Scenery
Faith Fuller, Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation

Gazing down from Rocky Top
I see a lovely sight
Of wild creatures, butterflies
And brilliant bright blue skies
I can hear the mockingbirds
Singing in the sky
The buzzing of the honeybees
Working as they fly
The scenery is endless here
It never truly stops
For all the beauty I can see
Is here, on Rocky Top

Age 19–22

First Place
Growing Up
Cricket Sands, Middle Tennessee Electric

I speak, but this isn’t my voice.
I struggle, but I’m too weak.
It’s futile, I’ve no choice.
Who’s this woman in the mirror?
Face ridden with wrinkles, a
shape I’ve not seen before.
I grab a pen to write my woes
on the reflection. But within rejection,
I realize it’s not aging I’m above.
For I may not know this woman, but
I have to accept the old me is dead.
It is she I’ll learn to love.
For we shouldn’t mourn our past.
But instead, we should all move ahead,
and walk forward to a future
that’ll last.

Second Place
Curio Cabinet
Michayla Smith, Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation

Come one, come all
Gather around to be amazed
For inside my bosom
Lies treasures from the olden days

That door over there
Holds globes of all kind
But you must be careful
Now they are hard to find

This one over here
Holds photos of generations past Never to be forgotten
Because forever they will last

This self holds many toys
Passed from hand to hand
All of different sizes
Tall and small and grand

Come one, come all
Gather around to be amazed
For inside my bosom
Lies treasures from the olden days

Third Place
State Of Bliss
David Smith, Fayetteville Public Utilities

I am a Tennessean. I’ve never doubted the history that runs through my rocky Mountain blood. I’ve never thought of being anything else, or changing my mind about who I am. No other bountiful land could satisfy my drumming heart like the home I was born nakedly into. No other mother of land or sea could call my homegrown bones to her mountains and meadows. God bless this sacred place. And god bless us in it.

Age 23–64

First Place
An Artist’s Back Yard
Deana Howell, Forked Deer EC

When the artist peers into her Tennessee
back yard does she see brown plain
brown trees?
No, she will see trees of Paynes gray
with hints of blue black and hunter
green.
As she looks at the sky does she see a
lonely blue, of course not
She will see see peach, pink, copper and
an eggshell hue.
When seeing the grown winter grass
does she observe only yellow
No, her eyes look at the sea of classic
caramel, sun kissed yellow, and fern
green spread out before her.
When looking at the landscape as a
whole is it dull?
Never, it is an ever changing kaleidoscope
of beautiful paintings God is
waiting for her to capture.

Second Place
Fickle Thing
Bengamin J. Spicer, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

Spring you are a fickle thing
Just when I find voice to sing
A sunny wink and off you go
Trenching me in frigid snow
If you weren’t so beautiful
You’d have no sway upon this fool
So flirt away and charm my heart
With buds of green and flowered art
Then dash my soul with driving rain
And let the frost dig deep again
I believe if I but wait
You’ll breeze through my garden gate
and when you do I’ll be so quick
To latch it shut and kiss your lips
You’ll be mine sweet pretty Spring
And worth the dance you fickle thing!

Third Place
Sounds of TN
Rebecka Warren, Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation

Can you hear all these SOUNDS down our way?
Is it the marching of VOLUNTEERS you hear?
Perhaps swords of mighty TITANS clashing or loud KATS at play?
Or is it prehistoric PREDATORS you should fear?

Alas, maybe its just the GRAND OLE greats,
At the OPRY with their steel guitars & violins,
Everyone from Johnny Cashes to George Straits,
Martina McBrides & Loretta Lynns,

Listen and you’ll hear…. train whistles, roaring waterfalls,
Lions, tigers n bears – and famous whiskey named Jack,
Amusement parks, state parks, zoos, aquariums, & historic malls,
We are Tennessee – come visit – you’ll never go back!

Age 65 and older

First Place
Backyard Bird Feeders
Sandra Fortune, Mountain EC

Wings fluttering, a rainbow
of colors, as a varied collection
of birds fly into the bird feeders
Seeking sunflower seeds, suet,
and thistle seeds.
Red-headed woodpeckers,
robins, blue jays,
cardinals, mourning doves, chickadees…
large and small fowl vying
for the best place to eat
winter sustenance.
Landing on the power line
to survey the food supply
Pushing other birds aside
to take their perfect space
Bigger birds shoving smaller birds away
Smaller birds returning to find
dropped seeds underneath the feeders.
A daily ritual … fill the feeders
and the birds
will come,
apparently through the
communication system of the wild.

Second Place
Tennessee Leaves
Michael Bradley, Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative

They run and tumble as the wind drives them to new ground
They are no longer green, but red, yellow and brown.
Flipping and curling as they go
Without protest or a reason to go slow.
Having given their best all summer long
They are brittle and dry and not quite as strong.
They have no choice on their journey or location
And give not a thought to their destination.
Their fate is not unlike our own
To live a season and then return home.
But they will return when spring begins
And renew their work among their friends.

Third Place
The Union of Our State
Millie Ungren, Pickwick Electric Cooperative

Contemplating Spring
We miss someone
like lonely scarecrows
whistling in the wind
We walk our proud parched land
watching shadows slice the sky
they fade away

We hunger now for nature’s clock
to move her hands of time
Give us, our creator, peace
chase away the hoary winter’s
virus fears
Remove our masks
Replace them with laughter

Pour down our country’s ove
for one another
Make us listen as we sing
the anthems that we’ve loved
so ling together

When winter’s covid ruins
are over
may blossoms of forgiveness
blanket our paths
Griefs forgotten
loved ones remembered
and heal our land

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