Age 8 and younger
Do you see?
Dominique Major, Sequachee Valley EC
do you see the Tennessee worm
deep in the ground as they squirm
do you see the Tennessee bear
going fishing in a pair
do you see the Tennessee beaver
making the wood a lot cleaner
do you see the Tennessee deer
standing so tall without any fear
do you see the Tennessee bunny
hopping in a patch so sunny
do you see the Tennessee mom
as bright as morning dawn
do you see Tennessee
home to you and me
Emma Laymon, Middle Tennessee EMC
As I walk up stone steps
Up and up they climb
I look high and see the
Towering image of the scene
85 Doric columns
Acting prodigious and mighty
They hold up the ceiling
And protect the statue from the
Evil lurking outside the walls
Nike is placed snug within the
Hand of Athena
She towers over the public and
Intimidates with her spear
With her serpent at her foot,
She is unstoppable
Made out of pure gold,
She is priceless
A perfect replica of history
Evessica Young, Mountain EC
The sun falls in golden lights
And then comes dancing is the night.
With lights it dances like a star,
And can be seen from very far.
The moon reflects gorgeous lights
Shining into mere midnight.
Stars shine brighter than ever,
For soon the night will be done.
I sit in the mellow grass, cool and damp,
Watching the show quietly end.
Night fades away,
Day will take its place,
The beautiful Tennessee night is gone.
But it will come again.
When on a mountain…
Gabriella (no last name given), Plateau EC
When on a mountain leaves look so bright
A gentle breeze feels so soft and light.
Its beauty is so rare and kind you can’t imagine it in your mind.
Even a rose can’t compare to its beauty.
The men and women here
Would rather die
To make sure my freedom stays alive.
What is this place?
My home, Tennessee!
And when we stand on Tennessee’s dust
It still reminds us in God we trust.
Anna Kurschner, Chickasaw EC
Creeping along the sidewalk in branching patters,
Populace rushing past never notices;
The world whirls on;
Weeds and wrappers fill the gaps
And birds peck crumbs.
Leaves are caught and decompose
With long seasons.
Still the cracks spread in erratic lines
Past blues shops
Nestled deep in Nashville’s heart
And under speeding traffic.
Rush! Says Humanity, but the cracks digress.
They spread slow and sure
Past a weather-beaten building “for Rent,”
Pausing by a man sitting.
He plays the guitar slow and sure,
Waiting for crumpled bills.
Though few ever take much notice,
The cracks make the city.
Nicholas Ma, Middle Tennessee EMC
The star that grows all life
Rises above the horizon,
Painting the vast, dark canvas
A warm orange,
Giving form to the floating fluff.
Breaking sleepy silence,
Trees orchestrate the song of birds.
Serene streams of crisp trickling
Are a paradise in the backyard woods.
To discover the soul
Through lost silos, iron tracks, and deep-rooted towns,
Is to live this land.
Loneliness sinks in a pool of nonexistence
As the community extends a comforting hand
And casts smiles veneering passionate euphoria
In hearts awaiting another day in Tennessee.
Where We Walk
Seanna Macri, Cumberland EMC
There is gold in the ground where we walk.
We can find ourselves on a hilltop at sunset.
Alarm clocks do not exist because chirping birds are enough.
Every curve of a road leads to the ends of the earth,
If you are open to adventure.
Sunday mornings are accompanied by church bells.
Daffodils line every street like they are God’s footsteps,
Marking His path across this sacred land.
People wave when we pass them by.
Yard sales are open every weekend.
Money is not the strongest desire here.
Because there is gold in the ground where we walk
On the Corner of 2nd and Union
Hunter Keough, Pickwick EC
served up steaming;
River water to drink, blues-
drenched, cold and pure. Shoulders,
thick, burning on a fire
down the alleyway. The dim light
of yellow teeth — lining roving mouths;
lining the bridge, the iconic
Pyramid, the Promised Land
elsewhere — sunk in greasy Southern ribs,
the famous Rendezvous,
but with none spared. Someone
stumbling in Memphis
begs for more baby backs, more
smoke. Keep the fire going.
But only the ribs matter,
and shoulders that fall
off the bone clean, easy;
once you slaughter the pig
no one remembers his face.
Mother Nature’s Vow
Rachel Blackwell, Middle Tennessee EMC
Cherry-blossom petals blowing like snowflakes in the gentle April breeze;
Pink and white blooms temporarily return to the bare dogwood trees.
Gentle rain falls upon the earth bringing upon it sweet renewal.
The sun lingers longer, burning up the night; the sky’s gold crown jewel.
The once lifeless landscape scattered in many a lifeless, skeletal bough,
Bursts in an array of emerald and olive, fulfilling Mother Nature’s vow.
The light air smells of fresh-cut grass, chives and sweet magnolia-tree aroma.
Lovers sway on front-porch swings, sharing kisses and a warm bottle of Cola.
Julianna Chaney, Meriwether Lewis EC
When days were long and years inconceivable
And wading the creek with mama
When weeks were long and season conceivable
And camping by the creek with papa
When months were long and the future almost tangible
And craving beyond the creek
When years became long and hours longer
During Chinese Take-out Christmases
With Snowy Springs
And no creeks.
Now years are short but days long
(Plump with my second)
And wading, together, the creek.
Sharon Boudreaux, Duck River Electric Cooperative
Together, they climbed
Into the stream
Her small hand
She sits now
On the boulder
In granddaddy’s arms.
Dipping slight fingers
into waters, rushing
As he bids her,
Listen, do you hear
Upwards, she gazes
As he shifts them both
Toward the sparrow
On the Maple bow
It sings, melodic
Its sweetness shared
By the child’s voice
As she too, sings softly
Look, he says
And she turns again
Toward the fawn
Upon the bank
Only the little girl
This is life
This is spring
In the Smokies
Requiem For an Empire
North Highway 127,
Near Jamestown, TN,
An old car graveyard lies,
Acres covered with rusting hulks of a bygone era,
America’s chrome-king heydays,
When post-war prosperity reigned.
Stainless-steel side panel moldings,
Pitted pot-metal hood ornaments,
Rusty chrome bumpers
Still gleam brightly through
Tangled honeysuckle vines and stinging nettle,
Hinting at the glory days when
Buicks, Cadillacs, Packards and Hudsons
Ruled the roads.
There they rust,
Some atop one another in exposed mass graves,
Others in neat rows along mown pathways,
America’s automotive Arlington,
A tribute to hubris.
Age 65 and older
Tennessee Weather Explained
Gayle Moody, Middle Tennessee EMC
Thundering herds of elephants
Race across the sky;
Gathering on the mountaintops,
They trumpet ’til they cry.
Their tears rain down on earth below
And gather in the streams.
Their trampling feet make thunder roll,
Upsetting all my dreams.
Their flashing eyes now pierce the night
With lightning bolts, deadly and bright.
And flapping ears create a breeze
Whose bluster uproots countless trees.
And so you see how storms are made.
They all arise from an elephant raid.
Butterflies in a Meadow
Lana Tugman, Mountain EC
In colors too beautiful to describe they flit to and fro like excited children
Seeking the nectar of the flowers all in bloom.
The meadow beckons them with its sweet perfume anxious to partake
in the beauty of such colorful visitors.
Even though they made their acquaintance brief
I stood in awe as I gazed upon the wonder of it all.
I had been blessed with a glimpse of paradise as I watched them
gather in the air like a bouquet of flowers as they bid one another
farewell before disappearing to that place that must be heaven.
Spring in Robertson
Beverly Walker, Cumberland EMC
The Bradford Pears bloom first,
God’s first benediction to Spring
after buttercups expose their sunny heads.
And just around a bend, redbuds in bloom,
where the old and rustic, red distillery sits.
I sense the ghosts of history moving stealthily
within its crumbling walls.
I take the road left to the place
where my son and husband are resting.
Beautiful Greenbrier Cemetery
adorned in spring by clusters of jonquils,
angel statues and flags–
heart-born offerings from loved ones.
A hawk soars overhead and I smile.
My son loved hawks.
It is green everywhere.
It is Greenbrier.
It is spring.