Wednesday, October 20

Poet’s Playground – July 2020 winners

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Age 8 and younger

First Place
Tennessee State Animals
Calvin Ward, Gibson EMC

Raccoons have sharp claws for climbing,
They sneak up to the water for fish.
Bass are big and small,
Tasty in every way.
The mockingbird copies sounds
Just like a parrot.
Their babies eat worms
That their parents give them.
These are our State Animals!

Second Place
Tennessee Outside
Sosie Owen, Middle Tennessee EMC

Every morning I look up and see
all the beautiful trees.
Bees flying all around
as busy as can be!

As I run
I see the bright sun.

As I tiptoe through the grass
I think…
“Oh I wish this day could last!”

When I ride my bike I like to think
Of how the Lord made this day so good.
“Could you please make it last a little longer Lord?”
I would!

I lay down on my bed
about to go to sleeo
And tell myself this memory I’ll keep.
Thank you Lord.

Age 9–13

First Place
Safe at Home
Priscilla Lofton, Middle Tennessee EMC

Though we are confined at home,
trapped in our houses, unable to roam,
but together we’ll soar,
like birds of a feather,
knowing we’ll get through it together.
We look about for things to do.
We’re the Volunteer State,
we’ll make it through.
But if one sees a neighbor in need,
help them quickly! Please, take heed!
I long for when we meet face to face!
We hug, laugh, cry as we finish the race!
But now at home, there are needs unmet.
So we must remember that,
“As birds of a feather, we flock together.”
Together, we’ll make it through.

Second Place
Tennessee Life
Audrey Rodriquez, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

Wake up to the rooster’s crow
A breakfast of eggs and bacon
Feel the blow
Of the wind when you step outside
And realize you’re shakin’
Lots of work on the farm
Gettin’ rid of rodents that harm
Filling the feeding trough
And swapping away the moths
At sunset
When above flies a fighter jet
Saying the blessings
At supper
Mashed potatoes, fried chicken, and cherry pie
What’s a salad without dressing?
In the sky
The moon shines bright
In the light
The creek that was once dry
Glimmers and flows
While the fawns and does
Prance around the field

Third Place
A Perfect 10-essee
Crant Young, Middle Tennessee EMC

Tennessee, the place that I want to be.
Tennessee, the place we love, both you and me.
Tennessee, the place I love from the bottom of my heart.
Tennessee, the place that is all art.
Tennessee, the place that is so warm.
Tennessee, the place, that I want my life to perform.
Tennessee, the place I love the most.
Tennessee, the place that is the best state from coast to coast.

Age 14–18

First Place
3 a.m.
Jesse Cai, Middle Tennessee EMC

It was 3 a.m. then
Then, we didn’t sleep.
We sat under the stars giggling,
watching the fireflies dance
Sharing schoolgirl secrets
And wondering what it’s like to grow up
Excited about the possibility in tomorrow
It is 3 a.m. now
Now, I can’t sleep.
Another spring has faded into summer
April showers to May flowers
It seems what was just yesterday
Is but a faraway memory today
It is 3 a.m. now
Now, I can’t sleep.
While the crickets chirp and the birds
sing their quiet lullaby
Tomorrows become todays
And todays become yesterdays
It is 3:01 a.m. now.

Second Place
Luke Barnard, Gibson Electric Membership Corporation

In dark days, fingers feel for matches.

Once we fumble fruitless for that unflickering
Light, we find the failing flame
Like a dying patriot bickering
With the night to his last bold breath
A comfort. We catch the snatches
Of his song in the sizzle of the same
Sung by the burnt end, blazing to the death.

In dark days, fingers feel for matches.

Third Place
Abby Ramirez, Duck River EMC

I’m truly in your heart things could never go wrong,
Without getting anything in return, never forget the love and courage that you show others,
A powerful faith in the Lord brings joy and comfort to your life,
Hating the days when negativity takes over by the ones who bring you down, Now I’m living inside your belief and
confidence that is being built
because of the false words spoken by the unwise,
I play an important role in a person’s life
Remember all the happy moments that brought true laughter
Hope, honesty, compassion.

Age 19–22

First Place
Forged in Old Tenny
David Smith, Fayetteville Public Utilities

I was born on the mountain,
raised on the hill.
I carry scars from the rocks that took my
blood and gave me memories.
Climbing, running,
the smell of Dewey mournings.
I’ve woken, I’ve worked, and I’ve bled
on The mountains that rise from the
back of Old Tenny.
I’ve seen the living bury the dead
on the mountains that rise
from the back of old Tenny.
And of tragedies, I’ve seen too many, But
I’ll never see enough of the miracles
that sprout from the back of old Tenny.

Second Place
Limbo Battle
Makinzi Robinson, Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative

Trapped; like the words on this page.
Having nowhere to go or a place to stay.
What is happening in this limbo stage?
You`re stumbling with no way up.

You`re stuck in the muck and the mire, being controlled by unwanted desires.
Losing the everlasting battle.
You strive to be more, hoping you can soar.
Flying by the line, believing you`ll be fine.
But you can`t, because you won`t.

You`re weak, and you know it.
So, you paste on a show.
Though it pushes you further down into the pit.
Not knowing when you`ll get that final blow.

Third Place
Checking the Mail
Lane Mochow, Appalachian Electric Cooperative

This love is the kind that tears
the coat off of the cat. Leaves it bare,
raw. Like the May cabbage that sits on
the concrete sidewalk, we grow together.
We both amble from the van
to the mailbox, interlock our fingers
so we can check it together.
The excitement of what could be
on the inside tickles my spinal cord
and his.

Of course, when we creak
the mailbox open,
It is empty.
It usually is.

It’s not about the emptiness,
It’s about doing the little things
as one body,
as one soul.
As one.

Age 23–64

First Place
Because of Thee, is Tennessee
Randy East, Tri-County EMC

Tenasi, Oh Tenasi, thine echoed past
speaks to me
Tennessee, My Tennessee, derived and
came to be
Ancestral roots firmly planted as mighty
oaks of the forest deep
Astute voices of ancient tongues
whisper, ‘forever keep’
Generational teachings of Mother Earth,
long ago, and reverence of the land
To honor friend and respect a foe,
of traditional ways to understand
Those who harmoniously balanced
their walk each day
Between forces of man and nature,
to confidently say
Tallied pearls of wisdom borne and
made our Tennessee so great
To stand forever proud, a leader for all,
our home, our state.

Second Place
A Simple Road
Terry Weaver, Duck River Electric Membership Corporation

It seems it has been here forever…

A simple road,
Ordinary, well-worn,
Seemingly lonely.

How many have travelled here?
Countless sojourners,
Some often, others only once.
Maybe business, maybe pleasure,
Maybe only a wrong turn.

Each carrying something,
If not by hand, perhaps in heart.
Some in joyful anticipation,
Some laden with dread or weariness.

Some destinations reached,
Some journeys continue.
The thoroughfare yet remains.

We all walk our own road,
Making our journey.
Each step has purpose
And holds promise.

Make sure thy steps.
Relish the milestones.
Remember from whence ye came.

It is your road…
Travel it well.

Third Place
Cindy Jackson, Cumberland EMC

Found a faded picture
I hold inside my hand
From Nashville, Tennessee
Famous Opryland
Vivid memories fill my mind
Of that exciting day
Roller Coaster Rides
To winning a prize
Perfect in every way
Soon the sun disappeared
All throughout the park
Storm clouds came rolling in
The sky went very dark
Take shelter as quick as a wink
Glasses began to fog
Took my chances
Shoved my way
Did I step over a log
With hair all drenched
I smelled a stench
Coming from my shoe
Serves me right
To pick this site
Of course, the petting zoo

Age 65 and older

First Place
Summoned Silence
Ron Butterfield, Southwest Tennessee EMC

The steady rhythmed drops of rain
Upon the roof above my head
Calms the cadence of my heart
In stillness of those wordless thoughts
And the wonder of contemplation
Reminiscences of the past emerge
As though they happened yesterday.
Though from my distant youth
These treasured memories in my mind
Define the path my feet have trod
The morrow’s journey will arrive
Soon on its own and stretch ahead
Then trail behind as done before.
The moon revealed by parting clouds
Summons silence to soothe the night.
A quietness replaced the rain
And pacified my sleep filled eyes.

Second Place
The Scent of Water
Millie Ungren, Pickwick Electric Cooperative

Like soul and spirit
Willowing Creek divides asunder
falling water
parting over rugged paths
of scattered stones
loud and wild
as the voices of guns

Leaping from stone to stone
the opposite shore calls me
creekside sycamores ascend veritcal
reflected in shallow pools
their floating leaves
splash along like golden coins

Fuzzy seed from cottonwoods
dart and play as water spiders
seeking a spot to repopulate
a future dorest
bankside willows drag their
leafy branches
creating sancutaries
for resting minnows

Oxygen is plentiful
great oaks as old as Shiloh
pledge allegiance
live water heals heartaches

Job 14:9

Third Place
Jenny Strickland, Tennessee Valley EC

If the night were not upon me
if a pathway could be found
darkness is heavy
the floor of the forest is not kind to barefeet
the blood stains are there
could the carpet not be sand
sand is a comforter
the Tennessee pines so tall
hiding the light of the stars
the silence is screaming
sounds from the night birds lonely


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