Poet’s Playground – winners for June

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Age 8 and younger

First Place
The Greatest Showman
Anna Lasher, Middle Tennessee EMC

Do you want to know the revelation to the only REAL thing you need?
Where all people are equal, joy runs through the whole place with him, and creates a calling, longing to your heart.
Dance with what truly matters, make your decision.
Come, come, be with our savior, maker of all creation, who runs the whole world.

Second Place
A Spring Walk
Elena Hall, Middle Tennessee EMC

Walking past the trees
Skipping merrily across the path
I admire tulips and daffodils growing high
A sunset is made by the whirling of their colors
Grass sways in the passing breeze
Rascally puppies trot by dragging their owners
Velvety purple violets climbing up everywhere
Silky white clouds swirling across the sky
All these things are so beautiful in my eyes.

Third Place
Summer Fun in East Tennessee
Maggie Williams, Cumberland EMC

I’ll go to the Smokey Mountains
I’ll climb to the peak
I know it’s hard but I won’t stop
I’ll even climb rocks at Chimney Top

When I get back to the cabin
I will eat some Moon Pies
The next day I will go to Dollywood
Ride some rides
and swim in the wave pool.

When I have to go to my Middle Tennessee home
I won’t get upset, the memory will save,
and because any part of Tennessee is a great place to me!


Age 9–13

First Place
Stirred Up
Luke Barnard, Gibson EMC

What can disturb your waters serene?
There is no breeze to stir thy deeps?
There is no fish that I have seen
Whose rustling passage keeps?
No man has carved his way by boat
With foam left in his wake?
Of leaf upon thy tides afloat
With only a tree to forsake?
But, alack, ’tis only I
Rippling thy waters with a sigh.

Second Place
Before the Break of Dawn
Carson Meeks, Middle Tennessee EMC

Mist settles on a quiet stream
Softly flowing down the mountainside.
The river shimmers like crystals
In the early morning light.
A mother doe with her new fawn
Steps out of the forest
And into the stream, cautiously watching
And listening for any movement.
A fox squirrel winds through branches
Above the pebbly brook.
A heron slowly wades into the middle of the stream.
A hungry black bear lumbers along searching for trout.
A lone cabin sits along the river bank,
Smoke curling out of its chimney.
And here I stand, watching it all,
Before the break of dawn.

Third Place
The Land I Love
Vanessa Perkins, Mountain EC

Mystical Magic and Blossoms of Blue
I love you
Rivers and Valleys oh I adore
I love you
Mountains and Memories of
You
Home Sweet Home, what I like to call
You
Where I was young and now grow old
I love you
Trees of old and Trees of new
I love you
Missions and Battles that I had played
I love you
Where the Mountains meet the sky and the Valleys lay down below
I love you


Age 14–18

First Place
An Ending
Cheyenne Lackey, Cumberland EMC

Feeble feet
Caress dirt
And the air
Clouds her face
Like smoke
Filling her lungs
With the taste
Of nostalgia
And a touch
Of cold
Mountain air
Standing
On the rocks
Overlooking
Patches of green
Orange
Red
Yellow
Leaves
Lying upon the earth
Like they are struggling
To breathe
Fading with the
Change of the seasons
Blooming
With the changes
In people
Dying
To touch the bottom
Of the earth once again
An ending
Of life
As the sun
Sinks behind the earth again
And here she lies
Basked in
Wet Tennessee soil

Second Place
Stuck
Rachel Moore, Southwest Tennessee EMC

I’m stuck.
Stuck in this house,
Stuck under these rules.
I pretend like it’s cool,
But it’s really not.
I can’t do what I want.
Because I’m stuck.
Why can’t I get free?
Why can’t I be me?
I can’t say this for fear of a reprimand.
I hope I didn’t offend.
But, I’m stuck.
I’m out of luck.
Stuck under these rules.
Though I’m an adult,
It’s like I’m still in school.
What can I do?
Nothing.
I can’t do anything about it.
Because I’m stuck.
Trapped.
Longing to be free.
Wishing to be me.
Stuck.

Third Place
Stars
Kyrie Hall, Middle Tennessee EMC

Little drops of molten gold
dripped upon deep blue velvet,
housing ancient stories left untold.
Little drops of molten gold,
they freely shine out bold;
they have nothing to regret.
Little drops of molten gold
dripped upon deep blue velvet.


Age 19–22

First Place
Azaleas
Lane Scoggins, Duck River EMC

If I sent you an armful of Azaleas
Fresh picked from the neighbor’s backyard
You might think “How pretty.”
That’s about as far as it would go.
Little do you know Azaleas
Mean “fragile and ephemeral passion.”
The kind of love we used to have
When seventeen meant picking daisies
“Innocence,” on the side of the highway.
That love is not lost, no,
But instead replaced by a more
Tennessee Dogwood-like tenderness,
“Love undiminished by adversity,”
Whose soft and white tipped petals
Embrace their thorn-tips with grace.

Second Place
Tennessee Spring
Cordelia Moss, Gibson EMC

The irises are swaying in the sunshine,
And dandelions smile up through the grass.
So I’m gathering this bunch to grace our table
As if picking them could make the springtime last.

The sun is breaking through an April shower;
The leaves bear droplets shimmering like glass.
And I’m taking off my shoes to wade through puddles
As if splashing here could make the springtime last.

Messy handprints paint the walls and windows.
The dirt pile finds its way indoors so fast.
But let me play with you, my little brother,
As if holding you would make your springtime last.

Third Place
Life’s Seasons
Hannah Depoe, Southwest Tennessee EMC

The leaves are green,
It is a beautiful scene.
The fireflies light up the sky
As the sun says its goodbye.

We swing on the swing,
And you begin to sing
A lullaby of the twinkling night sky.

Through the changing of the leaves,
You would never leave.
Seasons come and go,
But you are still with me as I grow.

You taught me to be brave,
Even as I stand at your grave.
You, my grandmother, will always be in my heart,
And whenever I gaze at the stars,
I know that you are never far.


Age 23–64

First Place
Dreams
Rhonda Cuffee, Cumberland EMC

Somewhere
Along the way
A dream created
Was debated
Torn apart
Shredded
Mended
Pulled and clipped
Re-colored
In permanent ink
Pasted on a new wall
Torn down intact
Moved to another locale
Tinted with black
Taped upon a sleeve
That sadly tore away
Thrown in the floor
Walked out the door
Shabbily disrespected
Traced upon plastic
Given away
Thrown away
Blown away
Landed at the door
Of a new day
Filled in with watercolor
Shellacked
Nailed upon the heart
Will not depart
No matter
What age
No matter what day
No matter what state
Will never go away

Second Place
Morning Glory
Thomas Carter, Upper Cumberland EMC

Carthage blooming and unassuming
Misanthropies unroll Lang Syne Auld
Demure and down-to-earth
No pariah, HalleluJah!
Denizens greet.
What’s this I see?
Profound and precariously petite
Usually ideal and discrete.
Look! Morning glory
Verdant with vines plied
Full bloom! After a warm
Tardy November night.
Incited by its, burgeoning impudence
I say: “Incipient, lush
On a right-of-way?
Dainty! Is it prudent?
Across the sidewalk lay?”
Zealous and crisply glaring me:
“These roots chose me!
Truth’s not a curse and I’ll marquee!
Gaslighting is egregious
Yet Love Victoriously!
Tomorrow yall see

Third Place
She Remembers
Vernae Coffee

The praises of Her mockingbirds
broke silence of the night.
Brutal blood-stained skirmishes
ensued until daylight

Her rivers tasted fresh fluids
of sons and daughters,
the Mississippi, Cumberland,
Tennessee waters.

She Remembers!

Upon rolling hills and valleys
of the Highland Rim,
Her faith and tenacity
staunchly carried them.

Her cedars of Central Basin
stand in permanent salute
to fallen blades of grass
noble even in their youth

She Remembers!

From rocky altitudes
of the Cumberland Plateau
to the flat and fertile region
of Gulf Coastal Plains

Her land preserves
with honor
their sacrifices,
their names.

She Remembers!

 


Age 65 and older

First Place
Storm Warnings
Cheryl Cleek, Gibson EMC

The dark murky clouds
Swirling like a witch’s brew
Cast a solemn pall
Over the entire day.
Making it difficult to know
When day ended and night began.

Rain, falling softly at first,
Picked up speed to become
A downpour of Biblical proportions.
The wind joined in the melancholy chorus
Within which was a strange silence
Reminding the humans that this
Was beyond their control.

Then it happened …
The proverbial roar of a locomotive
Sounds of limbs breaking
And man-made carpentry being
Dissolved in nature’s fury.
The darkness turning into an eerie green
All this left no doubt… tornado!

Second Place
Tennessee Seasons
Jane Bryan, Middle Tennessee EMC

The farmer’s fields in winter,
white washed in frozen snow,
How can anything find a way to grow?

Then comes the pregnant spring
with promises of things to come.
She bears her seeds for summer’s
crops, then rests, her duty done.

Now, summers here bringing what sweet spring bore.
Ball jars filled with deliciousness for winter’s store.

Fall finds the wheat waving in the wind—harvest is here —
The growing season’s spent and now winter’s near.

So come the seasons ‘round, a year of living on a farm.
What has been will come again
with all its rural charm.

Third Place
Resurrection at Sewanee
Duck River EMC

The old woman suns in her garden,
scorns the singing locusts
complaining they are God’s plague —
forever tuning up on one note in their score,
practicing the monotonous sound
until it becomes a ritornello of torture
offending her scale of joy.

Does she know
they bury themselves for 17 years
of solitude and prayer
before bursting through decay and loam
to sing the aria of resurrection,
enchanted with that one note…
loosely translated as Light?

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