Friday, September 17

Poet’s Playground – May winners

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Age 8 and younger

No entries received


Age 9-13

First Place
Season Sisters
Emma Laymon, Middle Tennessee EMC

Equal months for each
Phase tempts us into
Believing that the seasons
Balance each other

However, seasons are
Forever sisters.
They fight over
The spotlight

Winter dominates until
Spring forms and spreads
Summer pushes in and
Fall hides remaining traces

Winter and Spring
Can’t stand each other.
Winter is the strongest.
Spring no match

Winter is stubborn
She does not let Spring
Come so easily.
Spring will have to wait …

Summer and Fall
Are more tolerant
Summer obeys her limit,
Letting Fall have her round

Sisters fight
Sisters wait
Sisters shine
Sisters are Sisters

Second Place
The Iris
Luke Barnard, Gibson Electric Membership Corporation

In slender splendor
The iris abides.
In a satin veil
Her face she hides
In an emerald gown
And a glorious crown
She rests at eventide.

She bashfully bows
Her head to the Wind,
Such a meek and tender
Spirit within.
When the Wind blows,
Down her head goes
With a merry grin.

Clothed in Spring,
Adorned with dew,
Her maids the bees
With yellowish hue.
Her chamber of jade
Is the beautiful glade,
A bedazzling, forest green view.

Third Place
Wind and Sea
Cali Moore, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

If I’m out on the lake,
I’m searching,
I’m searching all day
I need to know,
I need knowledge
Wisdom, too
I need cleverness
To make it through
If I’m soaring high,
In the wind,
I’ll be looking
All day
I have to outsmart
What comes my way
I need to find, I need to pray,
I’ve been searching forever,
I can’t stop now…
I’ve made it to Tennessee.


Age 14-18

First Place
I Wish I Wasn’t a Blind Tip Sharpie
Reagan Honeycutt, Appalachian EC

I wish I was a Sharpie pen:
Leave permanent marks that no one could hide
I would help the world time and time again:
Yearning to grow my parent’s pride.
I wish I was a brush-tipped Sharpie:
A permanent painting of peace I’d paint
Knowing nothing about my political party
I’d hope not to hear of my parent’s complaint.

I wish I was a chisel-tip Sharpie: Though calligraphy is not my forte In cursive, I’d write the world permanently happy
Neatly slanting the world my way.

Second Place
For Soldiers
Hourglass Rose, Appalachian Electric Cooperative

When I think of colors,
I think of red white and blue.
When I think of blue,
I don’t see you,
I see plans they never pulled through.

When I think of white,
I hear screams,
From broken dreams,
Marching – your minds are split,
You can’t tie back the seams,
You see through PTSD.

When I think of you,
I smell the rotting flesh,
See the blood you shed,
The country didn’t bleed, you bled,
“Thank you” were words never said,
Homeless, broken, and torn to shreds,
You’re covered in red.

Third Place
What I call “Home”
CaseyAnn Bennett, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

Good food, better community, best praises
Nice accents, nicer people, and the best phrases
It’s not just where I am from
Or simply a place I come
It’s the memories I’ve made
And fresh squeezed lemonade
Its the people I love
And blessings from above
Country fried everything
Elvis Presley is still king
Darlins’ and Bless your hearts
Smalls towns and mom and pop marts
People will give the shirt off their back
But don’t cut no slack
Football on Friday nights
And plenty of scenic sights
That is why I call Tennessee home sweet home


Age 19-22

First Place
Sun Shards
Anna Kurschner, Chickasaw EC

Sun glints on creek
Rushing, shimmering.
Million pieces of glass,
Leaping over mossy rocks —
Liquid shards of sun.
Hiding in cool shadow
Rushing out to race.
Jewels of the moment,
Yet last forever.
Treasure of the woods,
Never caught,
Never owned,
Melted into foam,
Becoming pearls in the night.

Second Place
The Ghost of Franklin Battlefield
Wendi Morrison, Tennessee Valley Electric Cooperative

T’was the battle of Franklin, 1864,
On a cold November day, no more,
When my regiment marched for the Union base,
A thousand soldiers bearing the burden of war.

Soon I was wading though farmer’s blood,
Spilled around, limbs in a flood,
And as I stood shocked by the vision below,
“Bang!” and all I could see was mud.

Cold, alone, laying trampled and shaking,
Bathed in pain with my bravery breaking,
I watched, the battle continued above me,
Echoing gunfire, I felt the earth quaking.

I still feel the footsteps above me,
I still hear the relentless gunfire.

Third Place
Our Late Grandmother’s House
Abby Lewis, Appalachian Electric Cooperative

A little girl stands
in the gravel drive,
a stem of wheat grass
held before her. Her
neighbors have a child
near her age, a potential
playmate. To her right
is the dense undergrowth
of Tennessee woods, new
lands and adventures.

Her mother is at the door;
her eyes through the screen
are just as measured as ours.
My sister and I speak no words
to the strangers as we pass.


Age 23-64

First Place
Tennessee Twilight
Chandra Prater, Sequachee Valley EC

The sky turns a hazy apricot hue with pink cotton candy clouds.
The distant hum of a lawn mower, a chorus of frogs from the pond, the mournful call of a turtledove.
The taste of sweet, iced tea hot, buttered cornbread cold, creamy homemade ice cream.
The feel of soft moss on bare feet, cool air on sunburnt skin.
The smell of freshly mown grass, newly turned earth, and sweet honeysuckle.
The air turns cooler, light is fading a busy world is slowing down a time of peace, a time for rest.

Second Place
The Old Willow Rocker
Susan Thompson, Powell Valley Electric Cooperative

The old willow rocker, all weathered and worn
rocks on the front porch at dawn.
As the coffee cools down and the sun rises up
the old willow rocker rocks on.
At midday the air is heavy and hot
but the rocker provides some relief
By moving the air on the Mountain home deck
facing beauty beyond belief.
Rocking through sunset is peaceful and sweet
as color transforms the sky.
When darkness sets in night rocking begins
and the stars sing a hushed lullaby.

Third Place
I’m Tennessee
Sylvia Hodge, Gibson Electric Membership Corporation

Hey Ya’ll! I’m Tennessee.
Folks here are pleasant as can be.
Oh ! how we love our sweet iced tea and evenings on front porches.

I’ll take you to Memphis to ride the Delta Queen.
Then we’ll go to Graceland to visit the king.
We’ll stop on Beale for some barbecue.
Listen to some blues before the night is through.

I could show you so much more.
East to West, North to South, I’m beautiful they say.
You should come and visit me
And perhaps you’ll want to stay.


Age 65 and older

First Place
The Guardian
Stanley Long

He’s muscular, short and squat
A concrete icon
Standing alone
A wall of water at his back
Feet planted in the cool, misty river

He works in monotonous solitude
Automobiles cruise on his shoulders
Generators switch on and off
Tailwaters rise and fall
Megawatts flow and ebb

Springtime, when dark clouds hover
Till backwater rises
Sirens echo an eerie warning
Spill gates open, foamy water
Paints a ruffled white vest
A touch of class for the big dance

He rocks
Crowds circulate
Cool breezes, good vibrations
Shutters click, “selfies” rule
It’s showtime at Norris Dam.

Second Place
Fall Journey
Dolly Kimbel, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

She seemed more beautiful than usual
As she made her appearance in quietude,
And even though she didn’t speak,
You could feel her presence.

Her perfume was different, but pleasant,
And made you want to reach out
For a touch of her loveliness
That pervaded all around her.

We knew she was coming again,
But there was work we should have done
And things we wanted to do
Before she slipped in on us unannounced.

But she was only fulfilling her responsibility
And doing what was expected of her,
As she gently went about
Pursuing another fall journey.

Third Place
Nighttime Memories
Cheryl Cleek, Gibson Electric Membership Corporation

After supper
I walk out on the front porch
Shutting the storm behind me
Fishing for the sound of the screen door
of my childhood.

The chirping of cicadas, crickets, and
other six-legged beings,
Brings the memory of
Hot summer nights
When I awoke to their music
And would turn my pillow
Over to the cool side

Then I see them,
Tennessee’s state insect,
Lightning bugs dancing in time
With nature’s nighttime orchestra.
Then I wonder if I can find a jar.
For I might like to have
A living, breathing night light
For a change.


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