Wednesday, August 21

Poet’s Playground

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Age 8 and younger

First Place
The Shiny Bright Moon
Asher Milsap, Mountain Electric Cooperative

The full moon is big and bright
Lights the sky in the night
It can be yellow or white
Neither one is right.
Sometimes it shows in a solar eclipse
And the moon glows red
Very hard to see from my bed
Lunar phases of the moon.
Cause different colors and shapes
Which float across the landscape
When the moon is tiny,
That is the first day of a crescent moon
Even then, it can be shiny
When it is a full moon,
It seems to show a man in it
And makes it appear to be lit.

Age 9–13

First Place
Parallel Universe
Grace Rock, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

I saw struggle. Strife. Heartache.
It weighed heavy on my soul,
so I looked away.
The images seized to afflict me.
I felt no pain.
The universe as it was to me,
my universe, was well.
My mind was free.
I live struggle. Strife. Heartache.
I cannot look away.
You retreat. I have no escape.
It does not stop,
though in your universe it has.
The world still turns in despair
though you are happy.
Freedom for you hides chains for me.

Age 14–18

First Place
Milestone? Timestone?
Anam Fatima, Middle Tennessee EMC

Where red and yellow maple would lie
in my way,
Tinted with soft sun ray.
Where my mind would sway,
Thinking about that someday.
Where the slow wind,
The playful Redwing,
And the crisping leaves under my feet
Would perform something semisweet.
Where I would pass the bush of mistletoe,
Ignoring the fluttering — looking at the snow.
Where warmth would waltz with cold — Alternate week —
Was Persephone playing hide and seek?
Sigh…
On the go from the wind-chime,
I walked down that mystic aisle —
With a mirthless smile —
Knowing this will be my last time.

Age 19–22

First Place
The Mule-Back Mountains
Sarah Hopkins, Powell Valley Electric Cooperative

Where do you belong?
I, here, in the mule-back mountains.
Where silent snow shivers
from magnificent withers
to sacred grounds below.
Where do you belong?
I, here, where the trees line the ridges.
Where there are generous kitchens
of Appalachian home.
Where do you belong?
I, here, among the backbone and labor
of the tired and favored
dirt-stained travelers yet white-robe laden.
Where the steadfast keep holding on.
Where do you belong?
I, here, in the quiet valley.
The place my granddaddy died.
Where the resonating scene of archaic
beauty teems and fills my heart with
volunteer pride.

Age 23–64

First Place
That Place
Christina Monin, Duck River Electric Membership Corporation

I need to run
I need to hide
I need to get away
To shut down my mind
and feel some peace
in a serious way
Grab only what’s needed
and find that place
that calls me by my name
The nights filled with sounds
The days with adventure
A place that is not tame
That place I crave
That place I need
It’s there I need to stay
To lay my troubles
at nature’s feet
and watch them float away

Age 65 and older

First Place
Storm Surge
Carl Lowe, Middle Tennessee EMC

If you could squeeze your life into a poem,
Select its essence for slender lines,
Abandon what’s left behind
While the emotional storm
Surges against the poetic forms,
You’d struggle to stand,
To see clearly as the implacable truth
Tries to blow you down.
As you climb to higher ground,
What you’ve salvaged
Barely fills a tiny paper
Stuffed in a pocket.
Be ready to
Accumulate more to
Someday be abandoned.
Even as the weather report warns of
More severity moving into Tennessee.
The lesson from this catastrophe:
You must
Dance, sing while you run,
While you flee.

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