Monday, April 12

Poet’s Playground – December winner

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Age 8 and younger

First Place
Sama Sultan, Middle Tennessee EMC

Tennessee is a great state
Everyone would give it a five-star rate
No one there to cheat
Nice people to meet
Elegant people down the street
Smoky mountains are the best
Someone there is a guest
Elvis Presley used to live here
Every piece of his music is sincere

Second Place
As the Coronavirus Stopped Going
Liesl Lofton, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

The wind rustled while the Coronavirus kept going,
The trees danced with the wind.
The books blowed with the roof.
Coronavirus stopped,dead on the grass.

Age 9–13

First Place
Who is Tennessee?
Shruthika Kakumani, Middle Tennessee EMC

Tennessee, who sits with the traversed
singing and the synced strings, ringing
through your bones and out through
your mouth and mumbled hums.
Tennessee, whose crowded oaks and
blossoms’ sweet scents float through
the wind, enveloping you in the gentle
nature of home.
Tennessee, four hundred and forty
miles long as we tiptoe through the
winding roads, back and forth, back
and forth, forever familiar yet new.
Tennessee, whose sights of Greek and
Smokies usher in excited whispers,
jumbled together as they point at the
sights, Tennessee puffing its chest out
in pride.
Tennessee, born and raised, my home.

Second Place
The Rose
Kaden Christian, Holston Electric Cooperative

The rose by the window
Light making water like crystals
Water droplets sparkling
Pink and red stands out.
Unlike a rose bush
For my mom
Kindness and everything she does
The laundry and caring for me
She stands out like the rose
And loves me.

Age 14–18

First Place
Old Coffee Kettle
Michayla Smith, Cumberland EMC

I am jealous of all of those pots
The ones that get used all the time
With all their fancy buttons
And brightly glowing lights
I sit here on the shelf
Growing dusty and covered in grime
With all my filters aging
And my body past its prime
I am angry at those people
Always demanding for things “Now!”
For I could bring them happiness
If they would allow
I wish time could go back
Letting me view the better days
Never being forgotten
And always on display.

Second Place
A Dreaming Toad
Mason Stegner, A Dreaming Toad

There once was a toad young yet wise
He had bumpy green skin and large beady eyes
He was like many other toads he croaked and he hopped,
he swam through the waters, and on land he flip flopped
but what made him different you may not expect at all
for on many occasions this toad would curl up into a ball.
“Is he sad?” you may ask, no he never shed a tear
“is he scared?” you may say, but no he felt no fear.
The toad was curled up because he was dreaming.
The toad dreamt a lot, of what we don’t know.
A world of great treasures, or mountains capped with snow?
Perhaps a friend or a loved one, maybe a day at the beach?
No one really knows and that’s what’s so sweet.
Whatever makes you happy and fills your heart with glee…
It’s your dreams that reveal that so explore the world and see.

Third Place
Small Girl in a Big World
Dylan Belk

I am a small girl in a big world.
I have mood swings and heartbreaks at the age 16.
Adults once were kids, but in a different era.
Anything I do, means I am seeking attention.
Anything I say, I am wrong, I am just a kid.
If I go to church, I lose friends.
If I do not, then I am an atheist.
Nobody understands me.
Nobody gets me.
I do not even know who I am.
I am just a small girl in a big world

Age 19–22

First Place
Walk Through My Sunset
Cole Robertsen, Holston Electric Cooperative

A verdant hill caresses the road, where
amber leaves dance to the asphalt.
It’s warm to the flesh of my soles,
where my feet step carefully over tiny
I inhale sunlight, the cold hair of dusk.
In Tennessee my home rests, where
apricot leaves dance to the asphalt.
The hill sprouts dandelions, the pale
yellow villains of a gardener’s nightmare.
Yet, in the kiss of autumn, the weed
lays alone.
No lavish plants to surround it, only
the ginger leaves dancing to the
Oh, how the veins rupture golden
against the pads of my toes, in lovely

Second Place
Breathing land
David Smith, Fayetteville Public Utilities

The chilly breath of Tennessee brushes past my cold ears, crisp red palettes of autum Snatch my attention from the ever beckoning twists of the world. Is my mind a home for wayward thoughts? An open place for strangers to speak strange things? Only the brisk winds of these mountains brings me peace. Only the falling of earthbound leaves hypnotizes my cares away. And only once the hills catch thier breath can I catch mine also. And once again prop myself up against the perilous social fray.

Third Place
The Changing of Time
Grace Young, Caney Fork Electric Cooperative

You can smell the crisp, crunchy leaves from the comfort of your front porch.
Memories of Thanksgiving at Grandma’s flood your mind.
You’re living a beautiful memory.
It’s not the same anymore.
The times are changing.
Fall’s in the air.

Downtown shops are decked with ravishing crimson, gold, and brown, maple leaves.
A chilling wind swoops past you.
You take a breath of fresh air.
Something’s different.
The times are changing.
Fall’s in the air.

The Cumberland Plateau: deviating from its summer glow.
The temperature drops, shoots back up, back down again–
change comes fast.
It’ll be winter soon. Enjoy!

Age 23–64

First Place
The Tennessee Garden
Ralph Farris, Caney Fork EC

Sacrifice is a fine spice
Plant it with common sense next to a
Work and belief goes next to it and
care we’ll plant everywhere
Keep our garden old-fashioned by
Planting compassion
Pull weeds before they strangle what is
Good as every gardener should
Hopes and dreams in with the beans
Respect and intellect next to the tomatoes.
I bet
Some art in the chokes like fun-loving
Sharing is the plan
What grows here shouldn’t be canned
It’s a beautiful garden can’t you see
Tennessee has planted its tulips on

Second Place
You Don’t Say
Karen Stevens, Upper Cumberland EMC

Don’t say people of color
Say people of courage
Stepping back in time
The history of our country
A blending of people
A mending of souls
Recidivism breaks the spirit
Don’t fall back into former ways
Breaking the mold
Moving ever forward
Boldly and in a positive manner
Respect the differences
Man the life boats
Opportunities abound here
There’s room for folks
Come live by me
We’ll break for tea
at three
The Lord loves you
The Lord loves me
Just be kind
To man and womankind alike
Love one another please

Third Place
Wendi Morrison, Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative

Inside my eyelids, I carved the word sleep,
On restless nights, see what I can’t achieve.
Take walks by the water, hear the calm seep,
Calling me down to the riverbed deep.

Taking dives in dark waters at sundown,
River sings home, to those willing to drown.
The icy plunge drowns out all thought and sound,
Cold burns my lungs, and still, no peace is found.

Rocky depths calling as vision gets blurred,
Underwater screams forever unheard.
Moonlight above the surface that’s stirred,
Watching my descent as thoughts become slurred.

Inside my eyelids, I carved the word sleep,
It’s calling me, but I won’t take that leap.

Age 65 and older

First Place
James French, Duck River EMC

Much anger comes from wanting to
Trying to:
Make’m believe as you do
Make’m behave like you
Make’m vote a certain way
As a teacher make’m the way you say
The opposite sex, trying to make’m as
you wish
Make’m, make’m, make’m!
Realize Christ died for’m and you.
Their sin probably no worse than the
make’m sin you do.
Love’m, respect’m, goodwill’m
Tell’m what Jesus has done for you.
The Holy Spirit’s leading do.
Then they may change
And God make’m new
And change you too!
A make’m free heart
A good place to start!

Second Place
The Days of Old
Kimberly Hart, Duck River Electric Membership Corporation

The days of old are my best memories. Nashville always a singers dream
Entering church on Sunday. Widows speaking their soft southern draw with jewels wrapped around their fingers.
New buildings replacing my beloved five and dime store. Time spent with a true southern lady, my mother.
Nina May my black, sweet much loved nanny long gone.
Entering school the first day. It smelled of milk and old books.
School was a safe place with many friends
Scenery outside my class window of irises so purple and trees so green
Everything has changed now
Exit the past into the future.

Third Place
December’s Scarecrow
Millie Ungren, Pickwick Electric Cooperative

He stands alone
amid the brown and brittle
stalks of corn
stubble twisting ‘round
his wooden legs
silent as the dying fruitless vines
cantankerous moths flit and bump
against his painted face

The wild geese crawl across
an endless sky
there is the roar of
fluttering wings
he hears no sound
autumn’s sunset hovers
in the west
shadows appear and vanish
he has no sight

Red winged blackbirds dip and rise
above his old straw hat
squawking fear and loneliness
swaying in the breeze
tucked inside his ragged coat
he whistles with the wind
Faithfully awaiting another spring


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