Thursday, June 17

Poet’s Playground – January winners

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Age 8 and younger

First Place
Timothy Myers, Caney Fork EC

With Abraham Lincoln on the front
Quarters are cool
Because George Washington
My favorite President is on the front
Half dollars are special
Because they are bigger than the rest
One dollar bills are great
Because it buys a hotwheel car
Ten dollar bills are my favorite
Because it’s just enough to buy
A superhero toy
In God we trust
Our money still says


Second Place
Tennessee Chores
Lilli Edwards, Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation

In the meadow
That I lay,
In the barn,
The smelly hay.
All those things are
Fun to do ,
Even though
I just got through.


Age 9–13

First Place
We Will Come Back
Mary Beth Bryan, Middle Tennessee EMC

Devastating disaster, upsetting loss of homes.
We continue to discover and to roam
The depths of items that have been unearthed.
So many found, yet needed to be reinforced.
Blackened mountains and inky hills,
Even though nothing is left,
You still need to provide for family and bills.
Working together, we can build
Our favorite space back using everyone’s skills.
Talented workmen work day and night
On mountaintop out of sight.
Soon nature will mend its mess,
And buildings will be back without any stress.


Second Place
Smokies Storm
Mary-Morgan Newberry, Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation

To all those who saw the light burning bright in the night,
It’s burning hand reaching out to grab that which we loved.
It’s hand stretching out atop the mountains,
Burning all its fingers touched.
To all those who tried to push it back to tell it no!
To all those that were never more happy to see the little
blue specks filter through the clouds.
To call the burning light home to rest.
For all those who praised the Lord when their family they saw again.
And to those who never saw the sun.


Third Place
If Night was Day and Day was Night
Reagan Honeycutt, Sequachie Valley Electric Cooperative

If night was day and day was night
We would never worry.
After sleeping in till midnight
We’d get out of our beds in a hurry.

We’d climb out of our beds in the dark
The sun is something we hate
It thinks our lives are just walks in the park
Yet it’s brightness tries to debate.

Placing a spotlight on all of our flaws
It clearly positively cannot see
It drives every single person mad
With its lack of generosity.

Then again if night was day and day was night,
In just three days,
We would loose our eyesight.

Age 14-18

First Place
The Tennessee River
Stanley Zhao, Cumberland EMC

The serene waters, leisuring under the heavens.
Bejeweled in diamonds, adorned in gossamer.
Like Holy Grail, like Fountain of Youth,
Always nourishing, nurturing and fostering.
Waters so becoming, waves so mellow.
Foliage of emerald and ruby hues,
fluttered in zephyr’s embrace.
Titan bluffs, alluring hills.
The guardian angels of an aqueous kingdom.
Troupes of fish, prancing in the currents’ wake.
Fingers of trees clasped the galaxies’ hands.
Kelps conducted,
An orchestra of crickets and frogs,
Fiddling and strumming,
A symphony worthy of Beethoven’s.
Each day, the sun rekindles, moon recedes,
The Tennessee River, renewed at a new dawn.


Second Place
Why Children Don’t Like Baths
Emory Larson, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

Hand crisping dirt, letting it thrift
through fingertips: “This is history,
the definition of home, where we
are born, dimpled hollows of ferns
grown from dead ocean bed;
this is the true color of blood.”

Bending, morphing to hills
backgrounding her, pressing side
of head to earth, speaking via kiss:

“Hear footsteps speak sacrifice, let
echoes spit blood into ear,
know Passion Flowers bloom red
due to history.” Hand, grimacing
with freckles, swipes cool skin
above brow: “Children play
in dirt, knowing where they come
and where they will return.”


Third Place
The State of a Volunteer
Stanley Zhao, Cumberland EMC



Age 19-22

No Entries


Age 23-64

First Place
The First Sign
Terry Weaver, Duck River EMC

I longed for you
All winter
Through aching nights,
Cold, unforgiving mornings and
Lonely afternoons …

Please be on time.

In the last grasps of each year,
Solstice enters
and tilts toward darkness with
Chilling breath
Unforgiving hands.
Its icy grip unrelenting.
Unrepentant, unfeeling.

How I long for you
With pinings that fight for existence
Upon each steel breeze.

Then suddenly you come,
Pushing through muddy thaw
The sprout, the bulb,
Finally bursting forth in golden unpretentious

Thank you for remembering
The anniversary of my birth
With the rebirth of yourself,
Reassuring me that Hope springs



Second Place
Memphis Mississippi
Hunter Keough, Pickwick Electric Cooperative

Topaz planets drift as scale-stones,
life with heart grains kept beneath
fleshy waters. An unfound soul
shifts with sun-teeth, barges
churning pasts like freshly-dipped ink
as universe upon universe grinds
mud-bones to embankments.
Slippery selves, our former lovers,
encase in hope’s menagerie.
Broken homes, our fossil fugues,
now seem more glass than sky.


Third Place
Tennessee Thunderstorm
Susanna Beachy, Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative

What cracks the loudest
And is welcome the least?
What dismantles the proudest
… of the tallest trees?

What has colors so fatal
… so amethyst blue?

With winds, so able
… to terrify you?
With a splash and a boom
And electrifying shock
– and unholy gloom –
puts out the clock
The lights go off
Darkness creeps in
is that a cough?

Or is it the wind?
He gropes in the dark
She tries to find a light
With a bellow and a bark

He becomes up-tight
Later – snuggled close together
The thunder moves away
The out-smarted the weather
Until another day.



Age 65 and older

First Place
For the Birds
Nancy Bell, Powell Valley EC

An alarm caw goes up
From the coal-black lookout
At the ultimate apex
Of the tallest red oak.

With a sudden swoop,
Wings beating silently
Pate underside shining
Against azure ceiling,

Catching a draft sweeping
Up from the valley,
Like a swift F-16
The hawk streaks away.

Now few birds remain.
A lone cardinal strikes
His reflected red image,
Irate that some other

Scarlet bird threaten
His modest brown mate,
His gray and gold world.
And then, heads are cocked
Toward incipient season —
For more enticing sounds —
For the buzzing, whirring,
Trilling songs that will come.


Second Place
One Tennessee RIll
Norma Witter, Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative

A Swatch of silvery liquid
Runs through my woods
And beside my door.

Like a prattling child
Relating a happy dream…

It gladdens every place it goes.
In savory solitude

Its shimmering syncopation
Delights my mind
With a silky somnolence.


Third Place
Leon Mullen, Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

A special place to call home.
A land of hills and valleys in which to roam.
A land with rich fields to plow,
And smart farmers that know just how,
A land filled with opportunities to explore,
And libraries filled with history that’s happened before.
A gift of adventures daily shown,
And advance wisdom taught so others can have success on their own.
For the greatest land to fulfill a dream,
Tennessee the perfect place if you know what I mean.
A place day by day people realize,
That a small part of Heaven dropped right before our eyes.


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