Thursday, June 17

Poet’s Playground – May winners

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Age 8 and younger

First Place
Mother’s Day
Kaityn Smith, Appalachian EC

My mom is so sweet,
And she loves me,
She does things for me,
Cooks breakfast lunch and dinner,
And snacks in between.
She loves me so much,
And other loving things for me.
She is always nice like others,
But I think my mom is the best mom,
And that is why we celebrate
Mother’s Day!

Second Place
Welcome to Tennessee
Mitchell Collins, Middle Tennessee Electric

Welcome to Tennessee,
Tennessee is beautiful.
It is a great place to live


Age 9–13

First Place
When You Get Older
Rachel Keith, Middle Tennessee Electric

I used to have many friends.
Imaginary, nonetheless,
but they were my friends.
All animals who could talk
and do things,
Like my own little Narnia.
It was lovely.
I wrote stories about my world.
I dreamed about it.
I was the mayor.
A fox was our gracious queen.
My best friend was a wolf.
Made-up species lived among us.
We would solve mysteries
and protect that world from evil animals.
Ah, to be a kid again,
and think of those friends.
But I am not a kid anymore.
I can’t “play” with those characters
I forgot how.


Second Place
True Beauty
Megan DiCello, Southwest Tennessee EMC

True beauty doesn’t happen with make-up,
And it doesn’t just happen with luck,
True beauty makes your heart fluttery,
And it makes a permanent beautiful memory.
True beauty is love,
And it only comes from above.
True beauty is faith and trust,
And it is truthful, fair and just.
True beauty is selfless and humble,
And it doesn’t give up even if it stumbles.
God gave you true beauty,
And never forget that you are beautiful.


Age 14–18

First Place
Our Volunteers
Samuel Moss, Gibson EMC

As the night overtakes the day
Eleven take their stand
at Neyland Stadium.
These are the Tennessee Volunteers
Those who struggle till the day is done.
What is in the name of Volunteer?
But of one who serves his homeland.
Who are my state’s volunteers?
Are they not the thousands upon
Who gave their lives willingly on the
field of battle?
Our soldiers deserve far more than
wealth or fame
But few are granted one or the other.
So to Tennessee, I must say,
“Honor our veterans, men of the fight,
Who risked their lives for earthly

Second Place
My Home
Abbigaell Day, Appalachian EC

I cannot write of Tennessee as a patriot adorns their country,
a lover sees their sweetheart,
or a mother loves her child.

Tennessee isn’t my only home because that could be anywhere.

Anywhere coffee is made,
early in the morning and shared
in yardsaled mugs, will be home.

Anywhere my momma is,
her quick smile and witty scold,
is a place I’ll be welcomed.

Any house that has tiny feet and eager voices
running through and through it,
is my home.

The Appalachian mountains,
the violet sunsets between them,
are just the added perks of my home in Tennessee.


Third Place
To Be a Selfish Sympath 
Hamsa Javagal, Middle Tennessee Electric

China’s distraught and in a panic
While more are reported “dead”.
Spreading uncontrolled and rapidly,
Their pleas for help, misread.

No solution reported from China
Leads to Italy’s despair.
Once a small and petty problem,
Now an international nightmare.

Still, no worries come from us-
Our alarms are left on snooze.
We know of no Coronavirus
Except for the one in the news.

But soon the US confirms its first case-
The affirmation seeming surreal.
It’s when the virus could possibly affect us
That problems become a big deal.

Age 19–22

First Place
Water Droplet
Madison Apple, Duck River EMC

The sky is painted with soft pastels
As the sun begins to make her ascent.
There, on a magnolia blossom
a droplet dwells.
She sits there very content.
Here comes a gust of wind!
She slides off the bud, into the river
Don’t fret! Such an adventure is
This way and that, her destination
She twists and turns,
round the mossy rocks,
She watches dragonflies play in the
bright sunlight.
There, in the distance,
what is that she sees?
Over the waterfall, quite a great height.
Where did she go? Following wherever
the river may please.


Second Place
Tennessee Spring
Lane Mochow, Appalchian EC

When the sun hits the trees just so
I feel a wind of welcome,
a feeling of acceptance into
this world I’ll never fully comprehend.
No matter how many miles I walk,
I’ll always be surprised by the sound
of birds chirping,
of spring snow that turns to ice.
The magic that is in every nuance
of nature’s waking from
long slumber.

Age 23–64

First Place
Kelsey Grissom, Caney Fork EC

What Tennessee gave me
was not just fat toads under wet rocks
or the rain that sent me
to watch patterns on the river in slow
It was not just the mud we shaped into
pies, decorated
with twigs and prized purple maypop
What Tennessee gave me
was not just the night creatures, calling
and calling,
not just the sense of moss growing,
leaves falling, creek moving.
But in all these:
Wonder, courage,
the confidence of my feet on earth
where I knew I belonged
among the toads, the rain, the mud, the
moss, ever and ever, here.


Second Place
Dreaming of Sunlight
Wendi Morrison, Sequachee Valley EC

I dream of a world,
Fearless of the sun.
A world that feels,
Warm and safe.
I can’t see that anymore.
A shadow cast by,
Distant mountains.
I see patches of light,
They can’t last long.
A faint sadness covers my soul.
I drift from one shadow to another.
Wake from nightmares,
I don’t remember.
Tell myself to stop wishing,
Stop dreaming of sunlight.
I can’t.
The sun is too beautiful,
I won’t forget.
This isn’t a poem.
It’s a cry for change!
I dream of a world,
Where future generations
Live in sunshine.
A world without crisis,
And war.

Third Place
Sunday Morning
Collin Massie

Ends profound arrive from delights of morning
dew. A witness sings of a fierce fidelity;
the Spirit taps and the pastor’s sweat-stained
pulpit soaks in all of the brandished shouts of
hallelujah. Later, they ring along the
rim and dance within my whiskey glass.
The devil has his day.
Yet believe the mocking bird stays—so fierce and
gentle…God-tinged. Then will I kneel again,
low upon the midnight dew of God,
trails of grace laid utter bare.
For that, I sing. Sore from hurt,
I sing beneath shadows soft and cool.
In valleys deep,
yet still I sing.

Age 65 and older

First Place
Joan Binkley, Cumberland EMC

Tennessee’s parallelogram-border-shape
is quite unique
Stretching 440 miles from west to eastern
Trekking 112 miles north-to-south
Elevating eastern border at Clingman’s
6643 peak;
Descending to Mississippi River basin
border at 178 feet.
Hosting TN River’s west-south exit;
then east-north re-entry pique;
Growing TN ecosystems’ 300 “native
TN plants” for a “Flora’s Boutique”;
Raising Species’ 300 fishes; 80 mammals,
340 birds, 130 amphibians/reptiles
for a “Fauna’s Mystique”;
Framing urban, rural, hill, plateau, valley,
forest, mountain, basin, cave, river,
lake, creek;
Tennessee then encores four seasonal
magnificences — Oh, Parallelogram,
we in-awe keep.

Second Place
R.L. Pete Wyatt, Appalachian EC

The sun rises between silo and red barn
Light floods my bedroom
through the window.
I feel the warmth
bathing me in bed.
Too good to leave
this cocoon of blanket and pillows.
Doves coo. Their day has begun.
The wrens search
for a spider meal along gutter’s edge.
Their toenails make a scratching noise
as they fuss & fidget.
I hear Red, my neighbor’s mule,
bray across the fence.
He’s alone in the pasture.
Red’s gaze is fixed
toward the red barn
the sun climbs higher.
He brays again in his solitude.
Nothing’s sadder than
a lonesome mule.


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