Poet’s Playground

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Age 8 and younger

First Place
Springtime
Asher Milsap, Mountain Electric Cooperative

Springtime smells like fresh flowers
Just enjoy the hours.
Flowers grow fast
The blooms will not last.
Spring glows yellow with dandelions
Rapidly, the dandelions change to a puff of white
Amazing and awesome, what a sight!
The gentle fragrance awakens the senses
Some vines climbing the fences.
There is beauty all around us
Even the yellow school bus.
Birds twitter to start the day
Like they are saying, “Yay!”
Animals awaken from the winter’s rest
Newborn animals appear
They seem to say, “Springtime is here!”

Second Place
Strangest Day
Eva Crysel, Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation

I was very humble and started to bumble
I hung up my Christmas lights and got mosquito bites
And then I got in a fight with a knight

I thought very hard on what to do
And then I accidently ate someone else’s shoe
I somehow got in the jungle and heard
Jingles and rumbles
Then I realized it was my stomach
That was the day I learned
Not to ever, ever eat too much.
That’s all!

Third Place
Mountains
Beckett Smith, Sequachie Valley Electric Cooperative

The Tennessee mountains
Have a great view,
Up here there are forests,
I think it is quite cool, do you?

Most people have cabins
Made out of wood up here.
There are not many lakes,
But there is one we are near.

Some people can go off the grid,
With electricity and heat,
The Tennessee mountains,
Are big, nice and neat.

I think they are like,
A very big wall.
But I believe my Lord
Is in it all.

Age 9–13

First Place
A Sonnet from a His’try Book
Samuel Moss, Gibson Electric Membership Corporation

While reading my Tennessee his’try book
I traveled to Tennessee in the past.
While infantry marched, the battlefield shook.
Cavalry on horseback charged riding fast.
I watched unnoticed as the Indians fought
To dwell on the land that they longed to roam.
Nobody respected the Indians’ thought
While driving the Indians away from home.
I observed astonished that we would force
The forever natives to leave their land.
Why were they sent away without remorse?
Why doesn’t life have any small demand?
Why is transgression in the world of men?
Why would we commit a gigantic sin?

Second Place
My Midnight Friends
Mya Soundara, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

Last night, three deer
Stood outside
My bedroom.
Two were bucks
With branch-like antlers.
They stared up
At the moon-
So bright and shiny.
One was a doe
Shiny-eyed,
Sleek,
And shy.
She gazed long and hard
At me
While I watched her
From out my window.
The deer were so unafraid,
So mysterious,
And yet so real.
They were my friends
Last night.

Third Place
Fire
Mitchell Stowe, Duck River EMC

In winter’s frost and snow
I’m used to warm the high and low.
My tongue caresses the wood.
Let loose.
I could and would
Let nature take its course
And devour wood and move
Like a horse.
And like a monster full of glee,
Devour the forest tree.

Use me with care,
And touch me?
Don’t you dare.
Your cheeks and hands I warm
And I will pop your corn.
When you leave me be,
I lay in wait
Until next September’s frosty bite.

Age 14–18

First Place
Thankfulness Will Gratify
Reagan Honeycutt, Sequachee Valley EC

Age crystallizes our thoughts and minds
Each year leaving another memory behind
As children we eagerly await tomorrow
As elders a lost yesterday
drowns us with sorrow.

A building consisting of candy and toys
Crumbles as an older age’s jobs employ
And even with the ages we finally wear
We all seem to want
A different age’s beware.

Ultimately we’ll see every year as a blur
Let it all run together as hard times occur
Times leading us to think we let it pass by
Show us only our own thankfulness will come to gratify

Second Place
I Love Winter in All Her Barrenness
Abbi Day, Appalachian Electric Cooperative

I love Winter in all her barrenness
Unlike Spring with all his life.
For Spring is robust and drunken and loud
But Winter is Calm and sober and hushed.

I belong to Winter,
Her ice and her snow.
That is, until,
I become old.
Then the icy, cold wet,
Will weigh hard on my bones.

I’ll be driven from here
In my Tennessee home
To vacate in
Some far-off beach home.

That day is far,
If I love to see it
So be it!
Until then,

I love Winter in all her barrenness.

Third Place
Simply Tennessee
Kathryn Cantrell, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

Fall
the best
leaves to entertain my dog
sunday car rides
the smell of coffee drifts
everywhere

Summer
the second
freedom
pool days
midnight excursions
extended curfew

Spring
is third
graduation
cleaning
exams
cramming for AP
class selection
recommendations
information about Hope Scholarship

Winter
last
Opryland Christmas
56 words
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traffic
baking
basketball season
Valentine’s Day
shopping
crowded malls

Age 19–22

First Place
[Spaces]
Justin Luis, Cumberland EMC

There are those who hold worlds
within the lines they speak or scribble.

Galaxies between each word,
as the thoughts remain stern
though their meanings are made nimble.

For what are words,
and what are actors?
What are the lines
in our big, small,
brief encounters?
What are the hours,
what are the minutes,
what are the seconds of the day?

Without the stars
between the spaces:

The galaxies found
in our pauses to play.

Second Place
The Nature of My Soul
Hannah Depoe, Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

I sit and dream
Feeling the warm sunbeam.
Wishing to be free,
Though sunny I shall never be.

I then gaze to the sky,
My soul now alive,
Nature’s air in my breath,
Seeping the desire of death.

In the water’s reflection I see,
A beautiful version of me,
Though slightly altered by the current,
The passion of my soul fervent.

In the trees are the beautiful leaves,
Swaying away my overwhelming grief,
I look to the sky and finally see,
Sunny I will always be.

Third Place
A Prayer
Cordelia Moss, Gibson Electric Membership Corporation

Mold me, O my Father,
On Thy potter’s wheel.
Break me and remake me
According to Thy will.

Lead me, O my Shepherd,
Through valleys or through hills.
All I have and am is Thine–
Thine to wound or heal.

Dwell in me, O Spirit,
You who broke my heart of steel.
Breathe life into this life You claimed.
Bid doubts and fears be still.

I surrender, Triune God.
Take all I think and feel;
Take all I do and say and plan.
With You let me be filled.

Age 23–64

First Place
The Season
Annalisa Tyler, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

In honey-hued October,
as the air begins to crisp,
debutantes are presented,
the season’s brightest embers.
Draped in fluttering folds,
of ochre and of amber,
in ruffles of rust and dark rose,
they appear first, demurely.
Alone — then in pairs, in threes. Then
— suddenly, pervasive gold.

Spiritedly, they twirl, twist.
Long skirts trailing unheeded.
An intoxicating kiss.

But, too soon wild November
canters in unbridled,
scattering belles like cinders

Until all that is remaining
are tattered ribbon remnants,
swept dispiritedly
into wilted mounds;
the season over
the beauty
faded,
gone.

Second Place
Tennessee Trees
Kristin Howell, Duck River Electric Cooperative

I occasionally find myself
lost in the woods
with no real
recollection
of how I arrived
in that spot.
One moment I’m drowning
in the day-to-day
bustle
and the next,
I’m surrounded by
the whispers of leaves
all around me —
secrets I can’t understand,
but they comfort me.
The nudge of
wind through my hair
is like these
Tennessee trees giving
gentle permission
to let go
of the chains
life has clamped
around my neck.
One moment I’m
tied and bound
and the next I’m
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free.

Third Place
From the Tree of the Leaf
Sara Gulyas, Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation

Hello dear passerby, who asked me,
Why there’s joy when I die.
Don’t fret!
Death is not among me!
My leaves ripen and fall, that’s all,
As most other plants do,
But when those small plants
Fall to the ground and die,
I stand tall and proud and naked
And sleep through the winter.
So be happy for the gifts
That I bestow
For the children to jump into.
And I hope to see you next year
When I finally wake
From my slumber.

Age 65 and older

First Place
4 p.m. on January Fifth
Ann Thornfield-Long

Long, gnarly shadows stretch like
specters on icy ground.

Sun, like the cows, coming back to
night’s shelter, glistening rainbows on
snow in an Appalachian cove.

I’m homesick for the crunch of my
dad’s boots walking to the barn, putting
Bossie and Queenie in stanchions,
squirting milk into an old pie pan for
the cats, dad’s breath a halo round his head.

I see him now in his faded, denim
jacket, blue white winter the color of
stars. The color of angels.

Second Place
Tennessee Teachers
Rosanna Neese, Duck River Electric Membership Corporation

A teacher takes a mind
And plants in it a seed
And nourishes it with knowledge
Exactly what it needs
We’ve been blessed with two of these
Gardeners of our minds
They’ve taken away the thorns
And put flowers on the vines
We owe them both a debt
Which we cannot repay
For the blossoming of tomorrow
Is due to the gardening of today
We may never meet again
But we will never be apart
For the seeds of love are planted
In the gardens of our hearts.

Third Place
Majestic Mountains
Sandra Fortune, Mountain Electric Cooperative

A tiny, early morning peek through the window,
Serene beauty all around, the perfect glow.
Lush emerald mountains gracing the view
Becomes easy for the eye to take a cue;
And blink at the majestic mountains.

Soft clouds skirting the mountain tops,
Drifting lazily in the sky as large drops.
Beckoning the sunshine
Shunning the rain
Completes the majestic mountains, totally divine.

East Tennessee with the awesome Great Smokies
Blend into the other mountain ranges.
The title of Appalachian Mountains
Encompasses many of the flowing massif changes.
With sweeping elegance, transcends the Majestic Mountains!

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