Age 8 and younger
The Wonders of Tennessee
Lucy Winston, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation
Pine tree’s color
What a wonder
Also very sweet
Don’t even litter
It might sound nice
But it’s very bitter
I like to run
That’s all I want to say
Thank you everyone
You’ve been great to me
Maybe we’ll meet
Let’s just see
Perfect Day in Tennessee
Denise Koutsoukos, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation
The birds singing in the trees.
The sun shining brightly
and the wind blowing through my hair.
The song of the
cicadas and the sweet
The moon shining and
The stars twinkling.
The bright sky getting
I wish for that perfect
Emerson Baxter, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation
The flowers are pretty/ so is the sky/ I
Think you are the same as everything else/ As bright as a star/
You are shining in the whole world/
You love me and I love you/ The world will be
The right place for us forever and ever.
America at Its Best
Emma Laymon, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation
This must be
America at its best!
The key to a complete
From the raccoon
With its cryptic eyes
To the horse with its
Tennessee has an
The mountains cast
An eerie glow
Among the state
They are blanketed in
Smoke that blows in hazy
America at its best
Luke Barnard, Gibson Electric Membership Corporation
The refreshing of the land,
The meadow grass renewed,
The leafy branches fanned,
Perfection is pursued.
The mockingbird is singing,
The melody of bliss,
The song softly ringing,
Into the green abyss.
The tulip poplar cringes,
It’s flowers slightly glow.
It’s leaves with light green fringes,
Innumerable t’will grow.
The creamy colored iris,
Wet with mist haze.
The allure meant to inspire us,
Just look around and gaze.
All this is ours to see,
A land for you and me.
From coast to coast,
Beauty will boast,
The beauty that is Tennessee.
Brooklyn Laymon, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation
Is stressful, intimidating, and powerful
Why does it take so long?
It’s long and hard and worriful
I just want to go home
It’s like I’m in a black hole
It’s like I’m all alone.
But what’s this?
TNReady is canceled
Happiness fills the air
There were so many worries
That filled inside me
But now they have disappeared!
Is canceled, done, and finished
I’m gratified it was extinguished!
A Paper Snowflake
I was reading of a glass menagerie,
While polishing my memory of snowflakes
When I sneezed and looked up and saw Tennessee:
Trees like Melville’s ocean
And ivy like mythical snakes
Crowding houses like Stevens’ jars
In Eliot’s stagnant motion.
So I looked back down at Tennessee—
Tennessee Williams, I mean:
I am so unused to brown and green.
Here, feelings linger without melting on your finger.
It’s not all memories and thawed ice—
A minimalist’s paradise.
There’s stars that can fly, and you can catch them at twilight.
But how I miss my planes of black and white!
Cole Robertsen, Holston Electric Cooperative
Mist that crawls under ye toes
Like charioteers of the kings throws
Race around in parried bender
Under stars and gray morning splender
It curls and it crawls, musty and murky
Mist of Bliss, oh calms down the turkey
The cries of birds, minutes before dawn
Awake the glory of a speckled fawn
Bits of gray stream across the sky
in ribbons of rarity, do they fly
Oh Crawling Mist of Bitter Sweet Bliss
Stay awake, so you will not miss
The tepid rays of yonder light
oh they rain, so very bright
All thoughts of freedom have faded
For the opportunity or freedom is gone
For the blood has shed
Never to be retrieved again
Just as the blood on the battle field
The thoughts of freedom are never gone
Only locked up like a soldier held captive
Wanting to be set free
For the thoughts have sunk to the bottom of your mind
Like the rocks that sunk of the Tennessee River
Never to be thought of
Never to be seen
Always free, Yet always truly a captive
No way out or way to be set free
August 18, 1920: Road to Suffrage
Jenna Nam, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation
Adorned with gold-colored sashes across torsos
Their fading yellow flowers with persistent hope
And a stubborn, dignified spirit
The uniformly enduring anthem resonated athwart
Resolve alone couldn’t nullify their innate anxiety
Sweat deftly outlined the curves of their brows
As the sultry summer day wore on
As they held their breath, the men resumed disputes
The floor tensed with two impasses
There were no escapes to postponing or indecision
In voice acclamation each man reaffirmed the color he displayed
Except one red rookie’s ‘aye’ turned disbelieving heads
Perfect Thirty-Six, the beloved state became
All because he listened to dear Miss Febb
Grace Tipton, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation
This is Tennessee.
Unless dreadful war is made,
Underbrush fills dirt’s attic and covers its roof.
Wading through waist-high water—
Unlike wading through underbrush,
Water doesn’t scratch,
Provide boarding ramps for insects,
Smear skin with the oil of poison ivy,
Make blots of red pop up from holes thorns had recently filled.
Thought by so many to be baby trees.
Really, they’re the flag poles for the
United Arachnid Clans.
Their patriotism is stretched across my face.
Walking is not merely walking,
It’s bending, dodging, stepping over, around,
Sometimes jumping, ducking,
Arms and brain involved:
David Holland, Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation
narrow brown veins
beyond our stately White House
dirt-streaked moppets pedaling gearless bikes
carefree mutts dozing in sunpool splashes
icy bright Nehis sparkling grooved dewy glass
knotted rope swings swaying kid-cargo laughter
a winking wry grandpa rocking creaky porch slats
crusty brown bread soaking blackstrap molasses
flitting gray-tailed flashes teasing sprawling branches
time-carved wheel ruts offering slow rhythm
placid Holsteins switching manure-flecked flanks
dewed blueberries poised for whimsied plucking
newly turned earth wafting promised growth
breeze-nudged leaves rustling soft symphonies —
and encroaching dusk signaling nightfall
for all country roads
Lucinda Coleman, Duck River Electric Cooperative
Her long white hair
Kept in a bun
Washed only in rainwater
From the barrel
Near the cellar door
“Keeps it soft,” she said
While snapping beans
With strong hands that
Fixed things like broken wings
Of a bird found in the orchard
By two barefoot girls who’d
Stepped in puddles of tar
Softened by the summer sun
With black-stained soles
They plunged in spring-fed pond
Splashing. Giggling. Minnows nibbling
Toes too often caught in
Spokes of bicycles
Left out in the rain a time or two
Would fly through open windows
Like moths do
Canopies in colors of concrete
and sky shelter the tables bearing
local wares: muffins, breads, cakes, artwork
showing Tennessee’s parallelogram.
Produce tempts, too – berries, peaches,
Grainger County tomatoes, melons, beans,
yellow squash that matches the sun
warming our skin and bones.
The smell of fresh-brewed coffee
wafts across Market Square, and dogs
strain their leashes in excitement at all
the new people, sights, and scents.
Children laugh as they run across
the splash pad, shaking their
water-slicked hair like puppies
coming in from the rain.
Age 65 and older
100 Words or Less
Jim Tice, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation
Some paragraphs in English 101.
Shepherd’s Pie ingredients at McCreary’s Pub.
A good sermon – a REALLY good sermon.
Jokes with three characters at a bar.
Most marriage proposals.
The Tennessee Waltz and the Star Spangled Banner.
Words of Appreciation.
Things we say when we smash a thumb.
Selected poems in The Tennessee Magazine.
The woodpecker’s dance.
Trying to explain your broken heart.
Smelling Tennessee grass after 25 years in Georgia.
The best bumper stickers.
Bathing at night in the Milky Way’s light.
-Imagining what’s beyond that…
Praying in your closet.
Singing in your heart.
Summer Storm in Memphis
Millie Ungren, Pickwick Electric Cooperative
Muffled thunder rolling in across the river
Awakes me from my sleep
Playing tag with the flag poles on Mud Island
Snuggling ‘neath the bed-clothes, I envision
Hebe’s Fountain in Court Square
Now splashing over
Closer now, brilliant flashes, so determined
Disturbs the sleeping tigers
In their cages
In the park the leaves are dripping
From the shower
The trees are working out in natures spa
Above me, raindrops touch my skylight
Thirsty zinnias in my garden
Drink their fill
I sleep again, confident that tomorrow
There’ll be no need to use the sprinkler
On my lawn
Sharon Simmons, Caney Fork Electric Cooperative
On a gravel road, that winds by the river,
Stands a simple house
Built by a simple man
Who loved the land it stood upon
In the fields around the simple house he built
Grew the finest foods
Grown by a simple man
Who loved the family it fed
Down that gravel road, in a peaceful valley
Lies that simple man
Who earned his just reward
From his God, whom he loved