Saturday, December 14

Poet’s Playground – November 2019 winners

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Age 9–13

First Place
Ad Infinitum
Luke Barnard, Gibson EMC

Tread soft along the path of night,
The stars will be your only light,
And find the ripple of the lea
Unfolding in infinity.
Tread soft along and you will see
By light reflected off the lea
The boundless reaches of the sky.
The splendor of the low and high.

Second Place
Barren Branches
Olivia Lang, Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation

A soft
And vaguely fresh
Winter breeze
Whips past the window.
But the cold wind
Soon becomes
Rough
And menacing.
It tugs at
Frozen, once colorful
Leaves and
Yanks them off
The bare branches
Of many trees.
The calm times
Have passed
And winter has arrived.

Third Place
Exploring Nature
Beckett Smith, Sequachie Valley Electric Cooperative

I walked into the forest,
Shrubs on the ground
Vines hanging from up high.
Up ahead was nothing but a wall of leaves.
I opened the wall with my hands.
There in front of me a deer lay peacefully.
I go back trying not to scare it.
I run away as sticks snap, when I step on them.
I find a path in the wall made of leaves,
Spider webs glisten in the dim light.
I find a dirt patch,
Deer marks on the trees.
I think about how God has made this beautiful wonderland.


Age 14–18

First Place
Smoky Mountain Fireflies
Ruby Purgason, Appalachian EC

When the light from the sky turns
from shades of yellow to purple and red
When The moon’s light illuminates the leaves
They, then,
ignite the fire inside them
Each appearing as heavenly light
Then turning again to darkness
The concept of how one little creature
Can create so much light and beauty
then taking it all away for moments
To only bring it back
Is maddening
the true beauty and true madness begins
When the individuals become one
To each its own
Yet all as one
lighting in and out together
Truly beautiful
Truly maddening

Second Place
The Garden
Ethan Blair, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

The echoing song entices all whose ear it finds
Luring listeners to the heart of the land
The Wondrous Garden
The Paradise to all fanners
Near or far they come
Longing to develop their crops
Nowhere else can they find such a place
Nowhere else exists such a place
Such consummate conditions
A place where they possess any tool desired
The garden produces anything the farmers aspire
It flourishes all that is planted
The seeds grow
Producing a new song
An echoing song reaching farther than before
Calling more to the garden

Third Place
Simple Things
Chris Dunham, Holston Electric Cooperative

The soft glow
of a flame
dancing above a wick

The light attack
of a raindrop
hitting a tin roof

The crunching
of dried leaves
beneath hiking boots

The buzz
of a yellowjacket
hovering around an ear

The first rays
of sunshine
peeking above a mountain

The scent
of cookies
becoming golden brown

The movement
of a cool autumn breeze
brushing a hairline

The simplicity
of the everyday things
which bring us Joy.


Age 19–22

First Place
Light
Lane Scoggins, Cumberland EMC

Close your eyes:
Feel your eyelids,
Their heavy weight.
Feel the Tennessee sun press
Its softest blanket
Of light flush to your back.
Take a deep breath:
“In – two – three – four,
Out – two – three – four.”
Feel the light trickle
Into your lungs,
Your knees,
Your knuckles.
You are Light;
You always have been.


Age 23–64

First Place
Evening Steals In
Edna Delk, Chickasaw EC

Low in the woodland,
a shadowy evening steals in to draw a frosty breath as
nightfall descends from the heavens
draping the mountainside in midnight blue velvet.
Over the hollow,
a misty crown ascends to assume its reign
until dawn arrives to sit on horizon’s throne.
Gentle silence enfolds the vale and
the forest swoons beneath its embrace
nudging the lark to cease her vesper carol.
Amethyst moonlight shimmers against a canvas of sequined stars while
Nature exhales a long labored breath
and eases into a night’s tranquil respite.

Second Place
A Visit to Tennessee-Georgia Memorial Park
Rebecca Case, Pickwick Electric Cooperative

There’s solace in the stone that
bears his name
beside the stationary train
etched in a reverent black
so I remain
and voice my thoughts to the wind
imaging them catching his phantasmic ear

They call it a memorial park
a name denoting the serenity
we yearningly envision
with the surrender
of final breath and the shell
we don throughout the journey

I let my eyes wander
over surnames and sentiments
walking along the infantry
line of granite
watching squirrels scamper
under ephemeral sunlight

Bye darlin’
I nearly hear him say
when I turn around
to drive away

Third Place
Ode to the Zinnia
Terri Willoughby, Duck River EC

Up from the speck of a seed
The Creator breathed and it happened –

Sprouted – a tiny wonder –

The SON and the reign take care of you with gentle hands
And suddenly, I look, and there you are in all your queenly splendor

Your crowning glory is layer upon layer ofruffled skirts in a myriad of hues
Oh zinnia! Your sweet nectar is the song of the siren to me –

You beckon me like no other –
As brilliantly arrayed butterflies curtsey and waltz

Seeds fall back to the earth .. .! await the wondrous moment when –
You come back to life!


Age 65 and older

First Place
Writers’ Seasonal Report
Judith L. Duvall, Appalachian EC

Deep in January, we mine our words from dim caverns,
cast furtive peeks at calendars, compute the days until
equinox release will free our minds.
Springtime words emerge moist, fresh from woolly cocoons,
dance childlike from pens, prance in pride across keyboards,
laugh in gleeful play, page after page.
Summer ideas pop and bang, fireworks against midnight
skies, sparkling possibilities for every loop, letter spike
penned in bright ink on pale vellum.
Autumn words slosh and sigh through damp, dismal gray,
until bright skies, crisp breezes, and dazzling
colors set paragraphs ablaze.

Second Place
No Title
Clarence McDowel, Chickasaw Electric Cooperative

What happened to that dugout log,
Where horses used to drink?
I wondered as I looked at it,
What caused that log to shrink?
It stood chest high , when it became
An ocean, wild and wide –
A harbor for my sailing ships,
When I could play outside.
The flowing stream was altered –
I understand not how.
It was a rushing mighty brook,
It barely trickles now.
That tall and portly figure
Just cannot be the one,
Who sometimes sailed his fleet of ships
From noon to setting sun.
He never dove into the pond,
With mighty leap and bound.
For if he had, the half of him,
Would have landed on dry ground!

Third Place
A Song
Jenny Strickland, Tennessee Valley Electric Cooperative

The summer sun showed no mercy.
We were laughing –
Running barefoot on the rails.
Too hot – too hot –
Even if we had clothed our feet in shoes.
The train slowed ahead –
Hurry – Hurry!
The boxcar lending help with metal handles –
Still, we laughed.
No suitcase to slow us down –
Just the guitar across my back.
We rest on the wooden floor –
The journey begins –
Darkness sends the day away.
The E-Chord on the old flat top sounds good –
A new birth of lyrics ring out.
The train is moving north –
A new song for Music City.

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