Saturday, February 27

Poet’s Playground

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Age 8 and younger

First Place
The Colorful Fall Day
Nithila Siva, Middle Tennessee EMC

There was a double rainbow
on a fall day in Tennessee
They brought magic in the sky
I felt joy seeing the cool rainbow
Made my ride happy and jolly
Later we saw lot of tulips
In a colorful festival
Maroon, purple, pink
Pretty flowers everywhere
It reminded me of the double rainbow that
I saw on that fall day.

Second Place
Tennessee Nights
Linnie Franks, Forked Deer Electric Cooperative

cicadas chirping,
dancing fireflies flashing lights,
sweet Tennessee nights.

Age 9–13

First Place
Home Sweet Home
Dolly Burkey, Duck River EMC

I won’t be home in Mississippi
Or Texas or Alabama
Not Oklahoma or Illinois
Not Kentucky or Indiana
So home sweet home to me
Is right at the heart of Tennessee
Right at the heart of Tennessee
Is where day after day you’ll find me
No bustling streets
in the state of New York
No quiet seas out of port
But right at the heart of Tennessee
Is the only place for me to be
No loud noises
It’s not too quiet
No angry mobs
No loud riots
So home sweet home for me
Is the heart of Tennessee

Second Place
My Favorite Nights
Gracie Christian, Holston Electric Cooperative

In the night the moonlight shines
Like a pure white bird
Through the sky
In the days.
And through the night…
I stare out at the windows bright light
And out the wind will blow
Good Night in the countryside
And everyone a good night.

Third Place
Spring in Tennessee
Sophia Bryan, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

I feel the wind start to whisper and play around with my hair
In the cool crisp feel of the Mountain air.
We walk to church through the fog and come to an opening of dewy grass.
I know that this is the spot I will rejoice.
I feel love run through me as I see my family sitting close to me as we listen to the sermon and bow our heads in prayer.
The sun starts to rise as we come closer to the end and I feel as if my heart starts to dance as if I have seen the end
but it is only the beginning of a new start.
I know that this is the start of renewal, once more, and spring has come in Tennessee

Age 14–18

First Place
Has Christmas Faded
Olivia Jarvis, Upper Cumberland EMC

The sky is an overcast of gray;
There’s a cold tidal wave across our
Southern state.
Christmas should’ve been in full swing
to reflect a Holy King.
We spend hours in lines and online for
supposed happiness;
While our families hope we don’t forget
to spend time with them.
Oh, holy night, now so filled with distraction .
The simple, yet, beautiful meaning of
Christmas faded.
This should’ve been time for rejoicing
in our Savior’s birth.
Let this chaotic year not leave us
mourning for something more.
The world changed.
But Christmas’s meaning
still stays the same —
Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

Second Place
the iris song
Jesse Cai, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

grandfather, i’m trapped again on this endless grassy blanket
it’s dotted with murmuring violet hues
its petals rustle in a soft hymn
and the flowers are singing their feathery song

(but why is it different from when you came here with me? its eerie susurrus before the crimson storm…as the petals
begin to fall in the waltzing wind…)

grandfather, there’s a hollow mist that floats aboutthe
velvet echo in this meadow of a haunting melody
the glistening crescendo as trees surrender their emerald treasures
for scarlet rubies and ambers and rogue garnets

Third Place
Tennessee’s Pride
Faith Fuller, Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation

An abundance of colors are seen throughout
The place which I call home
There’s irises and wildflowers
Where the rivers roam
The wildlife has now awoken
To the scenery
Where the trees and flowers grow
As far as I can see
Gazing out upon the land
I see my state’s true pride
It isn’t found in music city
But on the countryside

Age 19–22

First Place
Nothing
Cheyenne Lackey, Cumberland EMC

I become nothing
When faced with the chance of becoming
Everything.
Is it a lack of ambition
Or a lack of care
I’m met with my own
Nostalgic disappointment.
In the face of everything I feel less
indebted
To inherit happiness and contentedness.
No bleak consciousness yet everything
lacks warmth now.
Is there any chance
I can inherit your tenderness?
I only hope to not be a child of
ambivalence.
Nothing left but uncertainty
It’s all become a fantasy to me now. I want to be a lot.
But I’m lacking in everything
So instead I will simply be nothing.

Second Place
Tennessee Dreamer
David Smith, Fayetteville Public Utilities

She found herself asleep in the land of mountains and music. Snowflakes were her lover and cold weather was her muse. Icy hill tops were only the beginning of her dream. She learned quick that Tennessee winters never play to lose. She danced to the drumming of the thunder, she shivered at the icy wind. She was left in awe and wonder, as she saw the autumn’s silent end. The spring seamed ever distant, but she found warmth in her home town. And even though her dreams relented, to this day still her head adorns a snowy crown.

Third Place
The Line
Cara Harrison, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

A thin line now ties us together.
It stretches and pulls, with each tug the fibers get finer.
For now we are no longer adding to, but weakening.

Through my lack of communication and revealing the truth,
The line thins.
Through your newfound interests and lack of communication,
The line thins.
Through our shifted priorities, of loneliness and happiness,
The line thins.

For this line is eternal, it shall never cease
But the thickness of such is a wavering slope
And once unraveled it may never be the same.

Age 23–64

First Place
Existence
Lisa Riley, Chickasaw EC

Another somber, January morning
She awakens, feeling anxious
The distant sound of icicles breaking
Raindrops hesitate then fall
A symphony of sound
Yet she waits
Musty walls closing in
Dripping with sorrow
Yet she waits
Yearning for Spring
To see buds slowly blooming
A cacophony of ice cream colors
As he walks up the driveway
To their Tennessee home
But it’s not meant to be
He is sleeping in a grave of winter cabbages
Eyes filled with a lush, serene view
Pillars of monuments lined like dominos
Soldiers in silent guard of his tomb

Second Place
Volunteer Rhododendron
C. Lee Smith, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

My favorite plants grow on their own
Volunteering where happenstance placed them
From Bristol to Memphis and the Plateau between
Nature displays it’s skill for creating
No need for a planter, architect, or designer
Cultivars couldn’t be finer

My rhododendron stands alone
Near oaks that grow tall
No intentionality behind it’s being
It just lives where it landed and blushes if examined
The rhodie sees no virtue in bragging

Volunteers come and go and may never be known
Unless we open our eyes while traveling
You might be surprised the variety of life
If you look beyond the landscaper’s palette.

Third Place
Small Town Birds
Kristin Howell, Duck River Electric Membership Corporation

There are days
where I want nothing more
than to leave the fringes
of this small town in Tennessee
I grew up in.

This morning I took a moment to stop,
to slow down and watch the birds
and see how happy they are
to be where they are.

Even in this small town.

Even in the fields I grew up in.

Maybe my heart really is here,
in the fringes of this small town,
fluttering around
with the small town birds.

Age 65 and older

First Place
The Clarity of Clouds
Carl Lowe, Middle Tennessee EMC

The clarity of the clouds this morning
suggests a creature trying to make up its
mind
About emotions.
No wind so the leaves across the pavement
and the grass drowse fitfully
trying to dream back to last summer.
Every naked branch above us has seen us
at our best and worst,
compassionate and murderous.
So don’t mistake the puzzling verdicts of
the mottled light
upon our monuments for memory.
Each shift in light is just another
question,
a different puzzled state of mind,
another lens that brightens and darkens.

Second Place
Restoration
Nancy Poole, Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation

Tennessee calls us
In April’s gentle rain
Wherever you are, brave worker
Do come home again
Tennessee calls us
When July’s thunder rolls
Lightning strikes randomly
Damaging many poles
Tennessee calls us
In October’s hurricanes
Floods are quickly rising
The danger is damaging winds
Tennessee calls us
In December’s falling snow
Beauty and peace surround us
Icy treachery lies below
Tennessee calls us
To answer every day
No job too great or small
Giving power to the people
When duty calls

Third Place
After the Storm
Millie Ungren, Pickwick Electric Cooperative

The wonders of nature
Surround me
The thirsty earth has drank
her fill
A symphony of broken pines
Limbs beating together like
Tambourines at church revivals

Old sycamores bent as if to pray
Shook copper leaves baptized
with raindrops
Bearing pure and secret colors
Shadows tangle with sunlight
Red sumac berries lay silent
On smudges of black leaf mold

I have opened the doorway
To my youth
The barefoot child down paths
Long forgotten
Peeking into hollow tree stumps
Presently occupied with
Living mysteries

An airborne raven glides skyward
writing eulogies with
Black feathered pens
On wind swept clouds

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