Age 8 and younger
In the fall I see leaves changing colors
They are Yellow, red, orange and brown.
In the mornings I see lots of flower
They are Irises and roses.
In the evenings I see lots of building
They are Shops and house.
In the nights I see lots of shining thing
They are Moon and stars.
In my beautiful state the Tennessee.
Ishani Ramachandran, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation
I think if I had one big wish
I might just see if I could be a fish
So I could dive down deep and swim real fast
I may start out being little, but I know I’ll grow big real fast
I call our house my tree house because it’s built in the woods
These mountains are my playground, I wouldn’t change it if I could.
Olivia Pressinell, Mountain Electric Cooperative
I’m just a kid but I know my love for my home is true, not fake
We live in a small town, Butler, known for Watauga Lake
I live with my grandparents and my mommy, I’m loved by so many
My heart is small but feels so big, full of love’s fortune, I’m like a lucky penny
I may be a girl but I’m a huge tomboy, I’m happiest outside playing in the dirt
Mommy says I’m her beautiful princess always, even with my dirty shirt.
Jodi Fate Pressinell, Mountain Electric Cooperative
Age 9 – 13
When on top of the mountain it looks like someone used paint
It’s always a sight pretty enough to make you faint
When the water repels slowly off a cliff
Like it is falling gingerly from a sift
And down here we also keep respect
The golden rule we don’t neglect
Even city folk have a since of good ol’ Southern pride
Gravy, biscuits, and sweet tea can make em’ smile a mile wide
Oh Tennessee how I adore thee
Oh Tennessee the your only place for me
Cassie Cummings, Holston Electric Cooperative
Like a rippling wonder; never underestimated
It cuts through the sky mounted high on its perch
It stays still as it lets out its aura of glory
Three stars, glistening white
Never to lose its symbol for purity
Surrounded by a crimson lake
The people are true blooded Americans
Enclosed in a endless circle of blue field
Mountains, highlands, lowlands it stands for
The trinity of stars looks over the state
We are the Tennesseans
We are the Volunteers
We are the Butternuts
We are the Big Benders
Never to leave
Forever to stay
Our symbol of individuality
Emma Laymon, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation
Out fishing with papa
the cool, crisp water
tickles my little toes.
The smell of river water
and oats. For mama’s in
the kitchen cookin’ breakfast.
Wiggle, wiggle, I feel
my fishing pole move.
I see the bobber movin’.
I pull it in , aw man,
just a little fella.
Mama calls us in, we
eat our oats, then we
go on a hike, for today
we’re looking for berries.
Bright, juicy berries
to feed the robins.
One, two, three! Pick,
pick! Here birdies!
This is what papa
and I do when nature
calls us to come play.
Samantha Rosencrants, Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation
Age 14 – 18
Bring Me a Banquet to Remind Me of Home
An iris, not of rainbows
But of something far more humble:
Plump, purple petals acting as fans
Faulted with feathers, daintily dismissing soft pilfers of air onto the saffron-freckled summer skin, speckled like thin moss
on stone, grounded by a background
of stained, watercolored lavender,
lavishing it until it contrives into beads
of yellow pearls, aged with memories
and childhood, of rolling hills
with sloped necks, trickling
into fern-dappled hollows,
constellated by fireflies, serenaded
by mockingbirds arcing above fields
of passion fabricated into flowers,
picked by hand
and banqueted with irises, a gift
to remind me of home.
Emory Larson, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation
grace in her step
she stares, trusting fragility
in the delicate edges of her face
quivers in her pelvis, femurs
muscles taunt like a strung bow, arrow notched,ready to fly, to run away and escape and disappear –
but she doesn’t.
she hasn’t learned to fear the scent of humanity, yet.
worry in her statue.
she watches, motherly concern becoming frantic,
panic in her twitching ears.
deer ankles, legs, like twanging live wires;
she’s a gunshot flinch, plucked nerves,
waiting for a trigger sound, for the hunters –
but they never come.
she’s still learning to trust me.
Breanna Coleman, Caney Fork Electric Cooperative
Ode to Tennessee
Carved with creek
that spread like cracked windshields
along sketchy back roads
through mountains of smoke.
Fog and frost fill
for days on end.
The grass grows no matter the ground,
through the toughest heat,
and makes the land
bring from below like above.
James Bessant, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation
The Harbor House is our slice of Tennessee.
Perched on a land made completely our own.
She rules over the island,
And to her, every beast and bird belongs.
The old queen of Old Hickory makes us young again.
She requires electrical work and power washing
In turn for love, laughter, and family.
Within the crooks of her walls
And on the outer edges of her boat dock,
She holds and protects
Memories held dear.
No one can take away the Harbor House.
No one can take away our Tennessee.
No one can take away what she means to me.
Madison Edwards, Middle Tennessee EMC
The Red of Night
The longest hours of the day
are those that aren’t spent waiting.
Fair is not a form but rather
augments in abatement.
“Caused”- the explanation of
a movement in the willows
across the fated sky ringing
lashes from a gallows.
three stars twicker like the moths
in cotton thickets
standing tall was always a thought
for daydream pavement but not a single
whisper made its way into the blue
Hunter Alan Keough, Pickwick Electric Cooperative
Tennessee To Me
From the birth of the Memphis blues
To Carl Perkins’ “Blue Suede Shoes”
Here, the Heart of Soul will always be
And that is Tennessee to Me
Buford Pusser is “Walking Tall”
Casey Jones, a hero to all
Both did what is right, you see
And that is Tennessee to Me
Nashville to Bristol, the guitars strum
On starry nights, the crickets hum
The mountains stand gallantly
And that is Tennessee to Me
Sitting ‘round the hearth tonight
Family close, a beautiful sight
No other place I’d rather be
And this is Tennessee to Me
Kayla Watts, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation
Under grey boughs of a dying hemlock
I steadied my bones at the water’s edge
and kneeled upon stone bouldered pews
for prayer and reflection.
I watched my features dancing,
on the eddy, cool and cold,
no longer old.
I saw the sun crawling out of my wet hair laughing swinging on a rippling rope of light tied to a leafy limb out over the rocks
and currents letting go
to fall to splash the surface
of the mossy Nolichucky with a flickering spray of golden luminescence
like a young boy’s glittering eyes
reflecting lightning bugs at dusk.
In the summer air, sticky and humid,
the sun begins to drift beneath the horizon,
where she’ll slumber for a few hours time.
The calming darkness settles in
for the peaceful, restful night.
The enchanting song begins.
The evening train sounds its warning tune,
while the rumbling trucks, absent of mufflers, barrel toward home.
The cicadas sing a melodious shrill,
and the bullfrogs bellow their boastful tune.
The moon blushes in the background,
while the stars twinkle in their own glory.
The tranquility takes over,
and I allow myself to fall asleep.
to the tune of my Southern, summer lullaby.
Sarah Ballentine, Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation
Thick, sweet grass under our toes.
Chins sticky from dripping Kool-Aid popsicles.
Blackberry stains on cloths.
Napping during a late afternoon thunderstorm.
Digging worms to fish in the Roaring River.
Wading in shallow pools looking for spring lizards.
Catching frogs and lightening bugs in the dark until Momma calls us in.
Warm baths and being checked for ticks,
Cool sheets against sunburned skin,
Helen Allen, Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation
Age 65 and older
Though not peaceful,
But eerie and
Held its breath,
Afraid to even
And rapidly rolling
To the surface
With a violence
Not known before,
Its sphere and beyond,
To the ground
Humans and vegetation,
Even bending the
To its will;
Through its savagery,
To those yet to come,
A gift of
Cheryl Cleek, Gibson Electric Membership Corporation
Lightning Bugs as a Flash Point
Cavorting madly with summer evening glee,
a wild child beckons to me.
A fuzzy image of bare toes nestled in lush grass.
A child tightly grasping a jelly glass.
Concentrating, with tongue poking through a small gap
in her front teeth, she is a hunter on the prowl,
not for creatures who growl, but bugs who flash briefly
in the dark with a wondrous spark.
Catching nature’s glow in a glass an exquisite memory
from summer’s long past.
Tonight my creaky bones recline in a lawn chair,
I stare with awed fascination.
The night is aglow with incandescent flashes of light.
No jelly jar will again hold these brilliant bugs for me,
many decades later.
The wild child has morphed into a staid arm
chair adventurer. Yet still awed by the same marvels of creation.
No need to catch bits of summer glow in a jar.
Night never trumps the light.
Enough to watch the miraculous orchestration of radiance.
Kay Fields, Appalachian Electric Cooperative
The word spread like wildflowers:
A queen bee is coming
and her swarming followers will
(please, as we flutter and tease)
in a riotous
buzzing of creation –
Michael Finley, Duck River Electric Cooperative