Poet’s Playground – March winners

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Age 8 and younger

First Place
Piano Time in Tennessee
Asher Milsap, Mountain EC

Tennessee is a state full of music
Memphis has blues and soul
East Tennessee plays blue grass
Mr. Blue Grass, Kody Norris, is best in the class.
Pianos are instruments for some
With lots of white keys and some black
Practice keeps a student on track
Some tunes are slow and some are fast
Some music can make you cry
Other songs will make you laugh
All tunes require you to try
Banjos or pianos will each bring joy
Just play the beat like the drummer boy
Piano time is the right time!

Second Place
Tennessee’s Sunsets
Brielle Smith, Sequachie Valley Electric Cooperative

Tennessee’s sunsets are beautiful.
They are bright.
Tennessee’s sunsets have planes.
They are fun.
Tennessee’s sunsets have purple and blue skies,
And a very nice view.
Tennessee’s sunsets are like a flower,
And it looks like heaven up above.

Third Place
I love my home
Tiffany Myers, Appalachian Electric Cooperative

This is my home
I love my home
I have a lot of pets,
and I like to play,
and I love my family

Age 9–13

First Place
The Bald Eagle
Justin Tholen, Middle Tennessee EMC

The majestic bald eagle soars
Over the rolling hills of Tennessee,
His feathers glistening in the sunshine.
His powerful wings,
So strong and yet so light,
Carry him far
From the many troubles of life,
Out over the open fields and valleys.
His feathers —
Beautiful, metallic feathers —
Carry him far
And farther
From the clouds of fear
And doubt,
And I wish that I,
Like him,
Could soar
Away from my troubles.

Second Place
A Dream Come True
Fiona Melin, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

What if there were unicorns
and flying cars,
What if there was peace
and never war,
What if money grew
on trees,
And the stinger never came
out of the bee,
What if everyone was
joyous and never would steal,
What if cars wouldn’t crash
because of a loose wheel,
What if it rained cat
and dogs,
What if people never
tripped over logs,
What if everything
I just described was real,
And me not talking like
crazy to a seal,
What if I’m not just out in
Tennessee’s blue,
That would be a dream
come true.

Third Place
Courage to Soar
Olivia Lang, Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation

A timid one am I,
Just a little bit shy.
But then I heard the roar of a lion,
Making my mind change course.
Breathed deeply,
Sat back in my chair.
A bird tweeted as it
Flew past the window high in the air.
Jumped up,
Looking around.
And then I saw a bucking deer,
Followed by a neighing horse.
Animals,
Big and small.
My inspiration not to fall.
They gave me the courage to soar,
Way up in the sky
Like that tweeting bird.

Age 14–18

First Place
Concrete Dreams
Cheyenne Lackey, Cumberland EMC

Coldness seeps
Into thin skin
Summer air
Has come to an end
Have nothing left to give
But my breath
Perspiration
Humidity
Clouding your senses
Soak in the flavor of rain
Petrichor at last
Giving everything
And nothing at all
Blackened leaves
Crunching under feet
Trees straining
Under the weight
Of the sun
Seeking their home
Within the earth
Swallowing my ambitions
Creases cast upon
A patch of silk
Concrete, really
Bound
Under the weight
Of rough rubber soles
Wheels
And cement
Sunsets
Made from chalk dust
This is where dandelions
Grow on mailboxes
And in between the pillows.

Second Place
Southern Tempest
Anna Stuart

Clouds darken
Mounting malice.
Sky answers
Roaring gusts
Lashing forest into fury.
Jagged cracks of light
Spreading fireworks
Speed to earth
Blinding destruction.
Sky rumbles
Fierce approval
Then quenches
Retreating wrath
With impetuous deluge.

Third Place
Strengthened by Change
Rachel Gingerich, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

Change —
Thru its most stretching moments,
The very deepest pains,
Devastated hopes,
And shattered dreams
Slowly,
Brings by the smallest gains
Strength —
And growth to hearts.
Experience and wisdom
Are gated by the past,
So even the weakest
Are strengthened at last.,
The strongest also,
When put to the test,
Will learn greater strength
If they give it their best.
So give it your all
And you’ll surely succeed,
Let the past changes
Strengthen —
And give hope for each need,.
May the future be strong,
All that seems wrong
Strengthened at last.
Strengthened by change.

Age 19–22

First Place
Kaleidoscope Eyes
Wendi Morrison, Sequachee Valley EC

I once drew charcoal smudges,
all gray skies,
Monochrome sketches and lonely eyes,
Notebooks lined with inky hues,
With sadness as my only muse.

You see, colors never were my thing.

Then came a masterpiece with ocean eyes,
Holding flecks of amber, wisps of skies,
Bright sunshine smile my soul did crave,
And laughter like the crashing wave.

You sparked a kaleidoscope in me.

My ashen palette wouldn’t do,
So now I’ll draw with colors just for you,
And try to capture all your liveliness,
You brought vibrance to the my colorless.

Second Place
Stars In Their Ears
Hannah Hubin, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

there are stars in their ears,
and suns in their eyes;
their soft steps make the sounds
where mountain melodies lie.
there are words on their faces,
and their lips speak old graces,
like poems piled high
in tall-storied spaces.
and if I told you, my dear,
that this song, it ends here,
of whom would you think,
so beautiful and queer?
and if I told you of such,
would you think of it much,
and would you think that we
might think this of us?

Third Place
Tennessee Lavender
Lane Scoggins, Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation

After you I canʼt
Smell the heady lull of lavender.
Sway buoyantly at a dance bar.
Sing my heart out to songs I would
ordinarily hate but love because you do.
It singes the edges of my eyebrows;
It leaves me hurt and exhausted.
I am nothing but a half-permed red wig
Forgotten in a dumpster around back.
It sounds like the tearing of two lovers
By time, distance, infidelity.
But truly, is this not the same sort of loss?
A friend is another sort of love, after all.

Age 23–64

First Place
Diligence
Brian Smith, Sequachee Valley EC

By the light
You can see the promise
He is seated at the right
Thank you
For the slammer
I was enamored
by the truth that you fed me
I’m not the judge
I’m not the jury
I’ve been given grace
It consumes me
Not by happen chance
It’s time to take a stance
And let these praying hands
do my fighting for me
What? What?
Given up the ghost
Livin’ up the most
From an early age
Good isn’t good
But now I know
From the slammer
Why MC Hammer said
You can’t touch this.

Second Place
Tennessee Winter
Rhonda Law, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

The air is still,
Trees dripping large tears,
Seems heaven is crying at the thought of winter coming,
Like an evil, cold hearted queen,
Winter approaches silently,
Then, in her cold anger,
She blows her icy breath,
No beautiful flowers,
No warm welcome,
No harvest promise,
Just the achy chill,
And soft white snowflake tears.
My heart dreads her silent stalking,
And, I long for Spring’s return.

Third Place
The Somewhat Ambitious Farmer
Sara Gulyas, Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation

Awake
For the rooster has crowed
The sun is peeking through the trees
Awake
For the smell of coffee fills the air
A warm cup awaits

One sip
Step outside into morning’s cold embrace
Two sip
Chickens get their grain
Repaid with an egg
Three sip
Glasses fill with fog
As the greenhouse doors are opened
Four sip
Tomatoes and peppers dance with joy
As they’re showered with the life-giving drink
Five sip
Uh oh … lost my cup of ambition

Age 65 and older

First Place
Salute to Tennessee Hills
Wesley Sims

They seemed in my youth
just everyday hills, rippling
across the woods-accented
terrain of middle Tennessee,
big pinched-up piles of dirt,
rock-strewn for toe-stubbing,
bruising hooves of heifers
and horses, needing terraced
for cotton, corn, and wheat.
But looking back they become
bountiful gobs of good earth
dished out like delectable scoops
of walnut ice cream by a creator
who knew we’d tire of fertile
flatlands and river delta,
of sky-scraping mountains
so awesome yet daunting.
He humored us with some middle
ground, smiled down and saw
that it was good. And we
respond, Amen.

Second Place
Shelter of Mountains
Jane E. Hendrick, Powell Valley Electric Cooperative

Prairie sister said,
I feel hemmed in

Seattle friend said,
These are not real mountains

These mountains
are old and worn,
once grand as Alps,
wave after wave
of ancient stone
lapped primal shores,
land of blue mist,
referred as spirit by
natives who named them,
Apalaci —people who bring light.

Few understand,
these mountains shelter her,
hold her when no other would —
they bring her light.

Third Place
Those Were Our Days
Richard Lyles, Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

The good old days
Were our good young days.
Shirtless, bare-footed,
Dirt-stained knees, knuckles and dirt beads,
While shooting marbles,
Giving sound and power to toy dump trucks,
Building highways and dams in the dirt.
A towel clothes-pinned about our necks,
Outstretched arms straining skyward,
Faster than a speeding bullet,
Leaping over tall buildings.
Cardboard Alamo, look-outs in the tallest tree.
Stick boats floating in a rain-filled ditch.
Real pit-BBQ, campfires,
Cranking ice cream, Hurry Up!
Moon Pies downed with RC Cola
Or Double Cola.
Who could ask for more?

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