Saturday, December 4

Poet’s Playground – November winners

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Age 8 and younger

First Place
Hadley Jones, Duck River EMC

Seeing the birds fly high in the sky
As the clear water flows slowly by
Watching the fish swim lazily past
Wishing this moment could always last
Our Tennessee land is ours to explore
Experience nature and so much more
Wildlife, trees and flowers beyond number
Mountains and valleys filled with wonder
Mother Natures treasures expand and unfold
Creating memories more precious than gold

Second Place
Favorite Season of All
Evelyn Lake

Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall
Which is your favorite season of all?

Christmas time brings lots of cheer
When Winter is here!

Spring is filled with lots of flowers
I could count them for hours

Summer, summer is so much fun!
I like to play in the pool in the sun

Leaves trickle down as they fall to the ground
Whirly swirly wind, autumn is here once again

Now that we have said them all,
What is your favorite season of all?

Third Place
God’s Light
Haley Bell, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

god’s light shines brightly, brighter than any other,
he loves you and keeps you until your days shall pass,
god’s light shines bright brighter than any other
i pray today he will will guide me all the way


Age 9–13

First Place
Hailey Holloway, Middle Tennessee EMC

The future is uncertain. It might always
be. But look a little closer, and you can
see that uncertainty is beautiful.
Beautiful like watching a watercolor sunrise,
possibilities painted in the sky.
Like when you drive down a winding
gravel road in the woods, each bend harboring
a sweet smelling secret. Or like
when you accidentally wander off the
beaten path, and you find a field full of
buttercup dreams and rose petal wishes
long forgotten by their owners. And
in these moments you are free. Now,
everything is uncertain. But remember
that all is lost only when you refuse to
find the good things.

Second Place
The Wind
Annabelle Redferin

I walk out into the night and gaze up at the sky,
Trying to forget myself among the stars.
They look like diamonds, and the moon like a pearl,
A light in the dark world.
Suddenly a gust flows, like a wave across the grass.
It whispers to me as it tries to pull me along.
“Come,” it sighs “Come with me.”
I let it drag me along
The soft ground under my feet turns to sticks, gravel, and dirt.
We have entered the woods, the wind and I.
It drags me along an unfamiliar path and pushes me into a clearing.
“sit and listen” It murmurs.
I am pulled towards a small log, and i sit upon it.
The wind leaves me then, as silent as it came.
The world seems to be holding its breath.
Suddenly an owl lets out a cry.
A rabbit appears, its bright eyes peering at me from a bush.
Soon the wind comes again, this time to take me back.
As we exit the woods, the wind whispers to me once more.
“Listen, and you will hear. Watch, and you will see.”
She leaves me once again, her words among her breeze.

Third Place
The Outside Door
Zach Wood

The wind rustles the blinds
As the train cart rolls
That may hurt your mind
But that’s how it goes

You may escape
Through the outside doors
Though you do it more than
Ever before

The wind rustles the Parthenon’s door
When you go through the outside door
And although it might hurt your mind
It was never seen before

The wind rustles the monuments
As you go through the outside doors
And though the spread was never seen before
You wish you could know more

As you go through the outside door
You wish you could know more
Like before
The outside door

Age 14–18

First Place
Jaybird Summers

Lost friends and old memories bleed into my
I’m not alone, just lost in time.
I try to rewind, but glitch. And stop.
I’m stuck on repeat, sounding like a broken
It’s over now, let’s hit fast forward.
I found my best friend in Tennessee,
We’ve traversed back roads and wound our
way through winding creeks.
We’ve been together through thick and thin,
she’s the peanut to my butter.
I’ve found a friendship that’ll last a lifetime.
I’ve found more than a best friend, I found
my Allyson.

Second Place
Always a Soldier
Alexandra Bristol, Fort Loudoun Electric Cooperative

Dog tags ’round my neck,
And sweat upon my brow.
Well, I’m needing help right here.
I’m needing help right now.
I’ve got scars upon my skin
And fear inside my heart.
Like a war I’ll never win,
Memories chase me down.
My child’s another year older,
And my wife still waits at home.
My rifle’s on my shoulder,
And her photo’s near my heart.
I thought a war was freedom,
But now I wear its chains.
Sadness locks around my heart,
Every time it rains.
The wind in the trees is howling,
Sounds like a funeral dirge, to me.
My soul, before it, bowing.
God, please set me free.
I’m just a city boy,
Missing my true home.
I’m not born for the wild,
Yet my heart’s itching to roam.

Third Place
Luke Barnard, Gibson Electric Membership Corporation

Mankind is the vagabond of the cosmos.

He plods along, alone,
Collecting trinkets in his grocery sacks.
Underneath his thick coat, he is all bone
And tired spirit. He asks
Alms, scrawling messages across
A cardboard scroll, pleading a solid meal,
Something, anything real.

Mankind is the vagabond of the cosmos.

Age 19–22

First Place
David Smith, Fayetteville Public Utilities

Tennessee, she waits like an oak for the
rain. Her mountains stay quiet and her
valleys stay still. She holds fast in
her own eden, from the forest to the
plains. The bedrock underneath her is as
sure as her will. Like a fortress of the
nation, she is wholly unyielding. Her
strength lies deep in her bones underground.
Her patience never ends, her
is unfailing, she is everywhere perfect
and ever bit sound. She will volunteer
when she is needed, she will answer
when she is called. Her example is ever
shining, and her Skies bless us all.

Second Place
The Battalion
Hannah Depoe, Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

The battalion readies itself,
Donning its armor.
They charge into hellfire
In front of them an uphill battle,
Though they climb in duty.

In fire and ash,
They grasp their swords.
Despite the risk of no return.
Through their shields they gaze upon horror,
Some of which are unspeakable names.

The fire now dissipated,
The battalion in search of items preserved.
With their lives they depart
Until the next call of uncertainty.

Those who have been lost to battle,
We bow in respect.
May you never be lost again,
As you radiate within us all.

Courage, honor and duty
The firefighters uphold
They stand tall against the flame,
Never again to be the same.

Third Place
Real Me
Courtney Smith, Appalachian Electric Cooperative

You’ve seen my fake smile and my fake laugh
But have you seen the real me
If you have please return her
I know she’s lost and scared, terrified where she is
That little girl that was there
Made life so fair
She grew up alone and confused
When she saw drugs get used
If only you knew
The pain she went through
She looked to the stars
Even though she had scars
Cant you see
This isn’t the real me

Age 23–64

First Place
Tradition Is a Body
Kory Wells, Middle Tennessee EMC

A kinship of casseroles, too many
cousins in my small kitchen, talk
slick as hot buttered rolls:
You’re better-looking every time
I see you; those cookies
are calorie-free today.

Yet I miss our gatherings
of twenty years ago,
the whole house a hubbub
of aunts and uncles, children
and grands. Bodies of my body,
bodies from which I came —
changing, disappearing, you keep me
in need. Gravy can’t fill every hunger.
Still, after second helpings
and old stories, we push back
from the table, groaning.
All of our bodies closer
to leaving. None of our bodies
wanting to go.

Second Place
Dawn Hughes, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

Memories drifting to fade
Just can’t recall your name
Will you still love me
I’m not the same
No Longer Knowing
Who you are
Yet when I look in your eyes
So tender and kind
We must have had wonderful times
I just struggle to remember
Some days
It’s like yesterday
While others
Confused and out of place
I just stare meaningless
Sometimes I look up in see a tear
In the corner of your eye
Holding my hand
You tell me stories of our past
Yet usually I am hearing for the first time
Occasionally I’m present
Oh how I love those days
Your once again my bestfriend
Then with in moments
I’m lost again
Back to the world of unknown
I noticed the tears running down your face
As you quickly turn away
I wonder why
This stranger cries

Third Place
There And Back Again
Dorothy Blackburn, Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

Oh those Tennessee roads of gravel
I remember trying so hard to keep it steady my first time behind the wheel
Nothing really to see, just miles and miles of trees and streams
Finally old enough to drive away and travel
So wrapped up in my tender hopes and dreams

Exploring and trying to live my best and keep it real
Found a new hand to hold and a new family joins the old
A southern breeze blows just right
A recollection of fondness at the sound of a whipowill at night
Many years have past driving back down that old road

Memories are mists from the past
New homes appear where trees once were
The gravel gone the road resurfaced
One thing I know for sure
Everything now seems to fit just right
Im am certain now that I understand my folks… at last

Age 65 and older

First Place
Kay Fields, Appalachian EC

So many folks now flock
to the Volunteer state, not
just to visit our tourist venues
and music meccas, but to relocate
to this incomparable state.
Tennessee is the new hot date,
the place to be, a refuge from
crushing crowds, civil unrest,
infuriating traffic jams, raging
wildfires, floods of epic proportions,
a chaotic life crammed with strife.
In Tennessee, our natural beauty, fertile
farmland, mountain vistas, vibrant cities,
and kind-hearted people welcome
as they settle into our native land.
We don’t stick our heads into that
sand and fail to understand, Tennessee is
the new promised land.

Second Place
Holy Ground
Martha Jackson, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

Dig a hole
Drop a seed
Into the great brown abyss

Bend down on your knees and
Listen to the ground receive
That’s a verse but no chapter

Dig a hole with the forefinger
And make the middle finger envy
The journey that it dared to go to meet God
Dared to go back to which it came
To the substance that gives life
That’s a chapter not a book

Watch the plant grow
You can’t give it sun or water or life
The fanciest formula can’t seduce
That’s not the new testament but the old

Respect the seed and watch the show
God is rain, the wind, and a bee sting
You be still, stand back
Nothing grows until God says so
Now that’s alpha and omega

Third Place
Hellbender: Our Largest Salamander
Ray Zimmerman

Hellbender – North America’s largest Salamander. They dine on fish, crayfish, and aquatic insects.

She curls among the tumbled rocks,
and waits for a crayfish dinner.
If she doesn’t find a crawdad soon,
tomorrow she will be thinner.

She will happily eat a frog or fish,
for she’s an agile swimmer.
But the crawdad is a favorite dish,
it causes her eye to glimmer.

Beneath the rocks she laid her eggs.
There must have been a hundred or more.
At parenting she is the dregs.
She ate a few just to even the score.

Her mate saw this act and chased her away
If eating eggs, she just couldn’t stay.
He guarded those eggs till they hatched one day.
Then he swam away much slimmer.


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