Sunday, September 19

Poet’s Playground

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Age 8 and younger

First Place
How Dandelions Work
Fletcher Johnson, Upper Cumberland EMC

Do you know what a dandelion looks
like? Dandelions start out as yellow
flowers. They are cool because they will
close back up and then bloom white.
They are different because you can blow
their petals off and make a wish but
you can’t tell anybody! It will never
come to you if you do.
Are you ready?
Pick one off the ground, take a big
breath, and blow. Whoosh! Did the wind
catch it? The little petals look like stars
that have fur on them as they blow in the
wind doing swoopty loops. If you look
close, you will see that they are little
helicopter seeds. Run after them and try
to catch one!

Age 9–13

First Place
Shrouded Smokies
Auburn Hill, Middle Tennessee Electric

The sun kisses most of our lands
caresses the rolling hills
and forests
and warms all of our hearts
But the sun has no place here
where a mysterious veil shrouds
mountains in mist
hides beautiful things
makes them lost to man
Where everything
and nothing
reside in harmony
A blessed land it is
unknown to the eyes of man

Second Place
When the Rooster Crows
Audrey Rodriquez, Middle Tennessee Electric

When the sun starts its journey
And you’re still asleep
There’s one way to wake you
It sure will make you leap!
Standing on the fence
While the dew is dense,
The rooster crows
And the sun grows
When the rooster crows
You start the day off right
Doing all the farm chores
Just around the morning light
Now it’s afternoon
The sun’s up high
But it will be supper soon
When high in the sky will stand the moon
We now lie in bed
With covers and sheets of red
That will glow in the morning
When the rooster crows

Third Place
The Joy
Beckett Smith, Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative

No rain or storm will change
The joy for my days
So I’ll get up, I’ll have fun, I’ll play
Because sadness is just a waist
And time goes by in a haste
Which will change in no ways
That smile on my face
So, let’s dance in the rain
While the clouds are still gray
It doesn’t help if I complain
So, I might as well stay
In a happy mood day

Age 14–18

First Place
Dear Wildflower
Leah Pruter, Middle Tennessee Electric

Delicate yet serene,
You sway in harsh winds
Petal by petal, carefree.
You spring up in broken places,
The barren brought to life.
A secret strength not often seen
Renewed with the morning light.
Dear Wildflower,
So recklessly refined,
Every blemished blossom
Beautifully intertwined.
Don’t look to the roses
In their flawless bloom.
Your perfect imperfections
I would never prune.
Dear wildflower,
Adorning the fields,
Why glance over your beauty
And the gladness it yields?
Turn your gaze to the heavens-
A sea of endless blue.
The Creator of the skies
Took such pride in growing you.

Second Place
Go to the Ant

Samuel Moss, Gibson Electric Membership Corporation

Trudging across the dusty sidewalk,
Six feet away from her home.
Dragging a seed weighing not even an ounce,
Six feet away from her peaceful home.
A fallen leaf stands in her way,
Only thirty-six inches left on this road.
Her tiny muscles strain to lift the seed,
Only thirty-six inches left on the scorching road.
Never minding the brilliant heat
Fifteen inches from her hill.
Humidity covering like a blanket.
Everything fifteen inches from her hill.
The seed is feeling weighty now
Four inches till the end.
And, then finally friends come to help
She’s reached her journey’s end.

Third Place
We Will Stay Strong
Alexandria Miller, Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation

As I marched across the stage for graduation
You marched across the coarse grass
As I earned my degree
You earned your right to be called a U.S. soldier
With each letter came hardships and trials
Each we faced alone
Your over twenty thousand miles away
Fourteen hours ahead
And you haven’t been home in three years
My story is not unique
It is not the first nor the last
But just like our fathers, brothers, sisters, and mothers
Who have, currently, and will serve
We will stay strong

Age 19–22

First Place
Blue Mountain, My Home
Molly Almon, Middle Tennessee Electric

Do your streams still cut sharp the
wood and weave water into braids,
Like a crown, like a resting place?
Your caverns teem with hidden
creatures —
Long-tailed salamanders, brown bats,
cave beetles?
And the woodpecker, does it jump
from tree to tree?
Its wings outstretch, then draw upon
landing effortlessly.
When I call you to mind the fog rolls
over in sheets,
And I’m there, wrapped in far-away
Blue Mountain, all I ask is you keep
living until I return,
And in the golden halo of dawn, greet
me as a friend.

Second Place
This Day

Denise Minton, Tennessee Valley Electric Cooperative

Give me a day so blue, so warm
give me a season of bliss.
I want a Summer of softer times,
as gentle as a butterfly kiss.
Give me a day of clouds and muck,
give me a season of blessings.
I want a Spring of Christ, He Reigns,
as He forgives our blessings.
Give me a day of snow and ice,
give me a season of song.
I want a Winter of He is born,
a baby destined to be strong.
Give me this day,
give me this season.
As of this day
He is the reason.

Third Place
A walk
David Smith, Fayetteville Public Utilities

On a Tennessee road through the woods in the mourning,
the birds in the branches singing songs of the spring.
I first felt a spirit of joyous remembrance,
then I burst out in laughter as my mind relived you again.
I was young when I found you,
older when I missed you,
I was lost when you once again came back to me.
Though my soul was in mournful nostalgia,
you saved me and righted my course.
So how could I not smile,
when looking back on you,
and in thinking of you hold you in my hands once again.

Age 23–64

First Place
Why Do You Hold Me Lower?
Justin Guy, Middle Tennessee Electric

Why do you hold me lower?
Our Blood Mixes in the red clay
The sun sets preparing for a new day.
But as we endure the same tragedies,
I still live as a travesty.
Why do you hold me lower?
Are we not one in the same?
Do I not bleed when I’m pricked.
Do I not weep while in sorrow.
As it stands my Fore Fathers
Created Your Better Tomorrow.
But why do you hold me lower?
Was there not enough turmoil at the
Battle of Stones.
Did we not lose families of our own.
Why hold me lower?!

Second Place
Morning’s Glory

Sharon Beutow, Pickwick Electric Cooperative

Eyelashes flutter,
warm breath on tingling skin –
My pulse quickens.
A tantalizing symphony of
nature ushers in the dawn –
Sounds of wonder and
enchantment hypnotize
the senses.
The horizon beckons –
Landscapes are bathed in
vibrant hues.
Dazzling strands of gold,
peak through the curtain as
they dance across the room –
The essence of life begins anew.
Morning’s glory invigorates
the soul with hope and joy –
A journey of peace and
serenity awaits.

Third Place
Tennessee Summer Fun

Cindy Jackson, Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation

Twists and turns
Calories burned
Hula hoops
Toss up a ball
Gather them all
Look to the sky
Only one eye
Breathe in breathe out
Hum or sing all about
Chalky squares
Out front somewhere
Count to ten
Not a peek
Hide and seek
Neighbors kids
Four or more
Tug of War
Tricks in tow
Walk the Dog
Lace them up
Eight wheels are great
Roller skates
Into the wind
With all your might
Fly a kite
Games we would play
Our yesterday

Age 65 and older

First Place
Magnolia Blossom
Christine Isley-Farmer, Middle Tennessee Electric

One tightly closed white blossom
emerges from her surrounding
Like a child rubbing her eyes in the
early morning light, ready to rise.
As the sun tickles her outer petals, the
cone-shaped blossom opens.
Knowing her beauty will be short lived,
her petals unfurl and reach outward.
When the westward sun disappears,
extended petals fold back into
The next sunrise sees her petals reach
ultimate expansion,
her perfume at its pinnacle.
When the apex of their splendor is
past, her tawny petals fall gently to the
Leaving their waning, lingering
perfume — a reminder of beauty, gentleness,
and purity.

Second Place
A child’s Summer in 1960 Tennessee

Roxanna Lawdonski, Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation

I climbed the giant sand piles, losing shoes every time.
I walked the rough boards at the lumber yard.
I stood on the concrete slab where bands once played.
I watched bats pour from the old waterworks’ smokestack as the sun set.
I’ve pulled leeches off a turtle the size of a wash tub and threw it back into the Cumberland River.
I’ve consumed green apples and peaches off the tree, plums off the bush, pulled the stamen on the Honeysuckle and drank the nectar.
I’ve hulled Black Walnuts, until my hands were green.
A child’s summer in 1960 Tennessee.

Third Place

Sharon Simmons, Caney Fork Electric Cooperative

Summers spent on grandpa’s farm
Far away from the suburbs of my youth
Trading the asphalt carpeted earth
For the feel of grass and gravel roads
A different world, my ancestral home,
Sensing those who came before
To settle in a peaceful valley
And live a life.
And in a peaceful graveyard there
On a tombstone drab and worn by time
These words profound still guide my life-
“She Done the Best she Could”


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