Tuesday, June 2

Poet’s Playground – May Winners

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Age 8 and younger

First Place
Ready for the County Fair
Garry Swafford, Middle Tennessee EMC

Chickens, chickens everywhere,
Bawking around with puffy feathers,
Running in and out of the coop,
laying eggs, drinking water,
eating food, and pooping everywhere.

Humans, humans everywhere,
walking around with shovels,
cleaning up chicken poop,
giving chicken baths,
and taking baths and showers themselves.

Second Place
Ethan Wiles

I like to go hiking in Tennessee
past Burgess Falls.
I see budding trees
when I hike in spring.
In summertime I see
the green green grass.
In fall I see
the red, orange, and brown leaves.
In winter I see
the snow laid out like a carpet.

Third Place
Ashlynn Millar, Middle Tennessee EMC

We have Titans
We have Preds
We can be anything in this state
We live free
And in a great place
Be a part of Tennessee.

Age 9-13

First Place
Falling Trees
Hania Aububucker, Cumberland EMC

A seed falls,
Just one.
Into the dirt,
The soft wet dirt.
And stares up at his creator.
Green hair,
Brown everywhere else,
Branches swinging everywhere.
To see his mother makes him smile.
Suddenly a man appears,
Thick as oak trees.

The seed stares in wonder.
The man lifts his stick
With a silver end.
And slaps his dear creator
“No but she’s my mother!”
The seedling cried.
But on he went,
On like he was deaf.
Til all the orphaned seed could hear
Was the sound of
Falling trees.

Second Place
Sewanee Fog
Arthur Glacet, Duck River EMC

Today was a foggy day
Outside I wanted to play
But outside was depress
And inside was endless

I opened a book
And the sun came out
Each page under my sight
Had rays of light

From the top of the left page
To the bottom of the right page
It was the entire alphabet
Moving me from sunrise to sunset.

Third Place
Midnight Hounds
Luke Barnard

When the Sun has run his course,
His lantern damped till darkness falls,
The night is held by some strange force
Which whispers words and ancient calls.
Though light has ceased, some still remain
With eerie lum’nous glow,
The fractured remnants of the same
Are scattered to and fro.
When these lights are set in place
And shadows leak and prowl,
The midnight hounds are free to chase
And bay with ghastly howl.
Through every churchyard, home, and town
These dogs shall hunt their prey
They will not stop till It is found
Or till the light of day.

Age 14-18

First Place
Colorful Morning
Rachel Grant, Middle Tennessee EMC

Deep, heavy, dry, cold dust.
The sagging blackness hides my world.
A heavy blanket held up by lamp posts.
A sheltered tent to hide me.
The black turns, the posts creak
The trees hang heavy under the weight,
Night opens,
Hot blue sloshes through, flooding, steaming
Souls are warmed, eyes open
A drowsy morning, wide-mouthed
feathers painted and stirred,
Their voices carried across the torrents.
Molten yellows, oranges, whites and reds
Drip through like syrup
cooling greens, pinks, and purples
Until my world is painted.

Second Place
Observations of Wind 7766
Abbigaell Day, Appalachian EC

The wind screeches odd noises,
as it scales the metal roofs,
and sweeps under my feet,
My dear, cold nose I think:
The wind is such a bragger,
spitting the places it’s been
into wet, chilly ears
where earmuffs are foreign.
The wind must carry wonder,
adventure, longing songs
from places high and far,
down to my hermit home.
Aren’t you glad it roams?

Third Place
Tennessee Sky
Emma Tremayne, Middle Tennessee EMC

Cool mornings painted
By chalky pastels
Up I rise
Just me and the Tennessee sky

Fading into a familiar blue
As I too fade into my daily routine
The day passes while clouds change form
Their simple beauty only seen through rose colored glasses

The sun makes its rounds
Stopping by all of those who it entrances
The blue crawls home
As I too settle in for the night

Consumed by a rich aesthetic
I fall asleep now
Just me and the Tennessee sky.

Age 19-22

First Place
Four Seasons
Ketsiyah Keren, Cumberland EMC

Oh, the summer days,
When the tall grass tickles my bare legs.
When the sun would warm my face
And we’d drink tea on the back porch all day.

Then autumn came and we’d
Harvest the grains.
When the leaves changed we’d
Celebrate because Thanksgiving isn’t far away.

Jack Frost chilled the rain,
Bringing snowflakes and winter’s day.
We’d go sledding and ice skate,
Then cut down the Christmas tree.

As the snow melted into spring
New life began to take place
All four seasons in one place,
Tennessee, the Volunteer State.

Age 23-64

First Place
Keith Shirley, Upper Cumberland EMC

In spring the daffodils wake first,
Their heads upturned in sunny yawns
And backs sky-stretched,
Unbending from winter’s sleep
And catching me unawares —
Leaping without warning from barren beds

Where still their sisters sleep,
And dotting leaning fencerows overnight
With warm butteriness.
And sometimes, sauntering through the rolling hills,

I glimpse a row of sentinels
Standing guard within a still-grey wood,
Beside a farmhouse which is no more,
Where a careful hand arranged them long ago.

Second Place
The Man in the Moon
Jeanette Sells

What does the man in the moon see?
In Spring?
Newly budding trees?
Does he see me?
What does the main in the moon see?
In Summer?
Leafy trees swaying in the breeze?
Does he see me?
What does the man in the moon see?
In Autumn?
Colors ablaze? Leaves falling like tears?
Does he see me?
What does the man in the moon see?
In Winter?
Trees with bare branches?
Does he see me?
When I look up, what do I see?
At the close of day?
Darkness coming soon?
Oh wow! I see the man in the moon!

Third Place
Playground Four Square
Sharon Mishler Fox


Four square was the game to play
On the asphalt every day,


Add to the category, think fast,
Speak quick, then pass.


Don’t say the same thing again
Or lose your place and spin


To the back of the line, out.
Wait till others lost too, pout—


Your turn comes again soon
If bell doesn’t ring you back to the room.


Four square every day it did not rain,
Friends always, that much was plain.

Age 65 and older

First Place
Moon Dust
Millie Ungren, Pickwick EC

They said it was a super moon
Appearing nearer to earth than usual
Riding majestic; above tangled branches
Of leafless trees.

A sound from far away breaks
The silence.
Like a silver bullet from earth’s pistol.
A plane crossing the vast darkness
Of the night sky.

From that minute speck of modern,
Man-made, flying miracles came a
Vapor trail.

Like the flowing triangular wedding veil

Of a bride, sparking crystal petals
Of moon dust at the wedding of Heaven and Earth.

They said it was a super moon,
Appearing nearer to the earth than usual.

Second Place
Appalachian Lady
Gary Hudson

A soul as one believes
You walked up from
The river’s path
A hot September’s aftermath
And autumn colored leaves
A silhouette elusive
And I so ‘oft reclusive
Yet chased the chance
If ‘ere romance
I sat you at
My breakfast table
Vowing to solve
Your cunning fable
You liked my coffee nook
Meant for you
Or so to seem
My cup straight black
And yours with cream
Two souls take out of time
Contradiction so sublime
As an ancient proverb
Set to rhyme

Third Place
Tennessee Heartbreak
Frank M. Smith III, Holston EC

He said it was the hollow laughter
Of all the lost and lonely souls
That drove him from the barrooms
Where he often sought relief
From the grind of a legal life
In historic Rogersville, Tennessee
He said that he often wondered
About the sands in the hourglass
That robbed him of small pleasures
Taking old friends and bad men
With an indiscriminant whim
That chilled him to the bone
He said that he was happy
So at the very least content
Whiling away his final days
As an old man on a bench
Feeding pigeons in a park.


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