Poet’s Playground – Winners for November

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Age 8 and younger

First Place
Poetry in Flight
Olivia Lang, Cumberland EMC

Hummmm.
Hummingbirds all around.
Dipping their beaks into the feeder,
And flying from place to place.
Staring warily at everyone who walks by,
Trying to decide if they might be intruders,
Wings buzzing as they fly through the air.
They seem to be everywhere.
Whizzing inches by where I perch,
Then standing motionless in midair.
Hovering like little helicopters.
Hummingbirds are here.

Second Place
Flowers
William Moss, Gibson Electric Membership Corporation

Lily and rose.
Zinnia and tulip.
They all come in
Different colors.
Blue, red, yellow,
Purple, and violet,
Pink, and white.
They are very colorful.
The Tennessee flower
Is the iris.
Its color is
Purple or violet.

Third Place
My Good Ole State
Blaine West, Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation

I’m a few months shy of eight;
However, I already love my state.

In my great state, there’s so much to do,
Watch those UT Vols, hike Fall Creek Falls, or visit the Nashville Zoo.

Mama runs the rolling hills,
While Daddy and I hunt for our next eight pointer kill.

Turn on your favorite country song,
And you can drive Tennessee backroads all night long.

I promise you’ll love my state,
So pack up and visit, no need to wait!


Age 9–13

First Place
The Darkness of the Eclipse
Thomas Moss, Gibson EMC

The lake is quiet and undisturbed,
The wispy clouds are swiftly movingabove,
Whoosh!
A jet flies overhead.
The day drifts slowly by,
Nothing wants to occur.
The sun is moving above the earth,
Slowly
Suddenly
A vast thing is dissolving the sun!
The sun disappears.
It seems to be invisible.
The moon seems to be eating it.
Darkness comes
Splash!
A branch falls into the lake.
But everything ignores it.
Slowly
Suddenly
The sun is coming back!
The sun reappears.
It seems to be visible.
Nothing knew
The moon could eat the sun.

Second Place
Sparkling Brook
Samuel Moss, Gibson Electric Membership Corporation

It flows down the mountain.
Splashing over rocks.
Sparkling in the sun.
Dancing over rapids.
Flowing faster, faster,
Faster down the mountain.
Speeding down falls.
Slowing down in pools.
Watching wildlife on its banks
Drinking from its pools.
But it considers none of these
And keeps running faster,
Faster down the mountain.
It seems it would go on forever
But like all it must stop.
It flows to the Tennessee River
And seems as it would end.
Everyone mourns the loss of the brook,
But a voice comes from the rapids,
“Take heart tis I!”

Third Place
An Average Day
Rachel Keith, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

Sunrise comes
Shining golden-orange on the leaves
Making the morning look like a glimpse of heaven
Peeking out the window
I see Small Fry the rabbit
He’s got a morning schedule too
For he always comes at 6:00 AM to eat here
The yellow daytime sunshine takes place
Gleaming brightly on the rough sidewalk
I get up after lunch to relaxing and watching Sonic the Hedgehog
Evening brings playtime with my pets
And listening to a C.S. Lewis audio book with my grasshopper
That is just my average Tennessee day.


Age 14–18

First Place
The Sun’s Arrival
Cara Harrison, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

Dark skies, dead grass, broken buildings.
Mr. Sun, where are you?
Where are your happy rays,
Your life, youthfulness, glee?
All that’s left is a blanket of discomfort and sadness.
No singing, dancing,
Running, jumping
All smiles are gone.
Please come back.
When depression grabs hold by the ankles and attempts to slowly kill
It is you who prevents it.
It is you who looks death in its face and laughs
But with you gone
Death laughs
at you,
at us,
at me.
… with a vengeance.
Mr. Sun,
Hear our cries
Answer our pleas for help
Save Us.
Mr. Sun?

Second Place
Home
Ellie Vinson, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

I had the chance to leave
to a so called paradise.
My heart wouldn’t let me.
I long to flee
and do something more,
but staying provides
an opportunity so foreign.
Going could be glorious…
I want to.
Yet, I’m enthralled with
the vibrant greenery,
the music filled wind,
the hopeful fresh air,
the hills that challenged me,
the sky I gaze dreamily upon,
and the people.
The people who gave me
the one thing
millions search for.
belonging
So how could I go?
When Tennessee is such a part of me?

Third Place
Dead Tree Dead Tree Come Alive
Abbigaell Day, Appalachian Electric Cooperative

Even a dead tree
Could look alive in the winter.
Next to all trees,
All trees who are shaken bare.

When the frost thaws to dew
And the Earth blinks awake
He is found, like always:
starkly naked against Easter lilies, Honeysuckle, fall colors and
green.

So what? The dead tree dares
The birds to nest in his branches,
the vines to cut and pare.

As the sole bare tree
Amidst flowering things
He often consoles his soul
With one meaningless maxim,
“Not all flowers bloom in Spring.”


Age 19–22

First Place
To a Falling Leaf
Cordelia Moss, Gibson EMC

I have a question for the leaves
Who float down as I walk,
A riddle I would quickly solve
If only leaves could talk.
I’d catch a cheery maple leaf
Who happened to blow by,
And if he had a moment,
I would kindly ask him why
There can be a lively joy
In the way the dying die.
Why does death wear so much beauty —
Orange and red and brown and gold?
How can death create a playground —
The pile where children jump and roll?
What makes me love the dying season
Like a tale that’s never old?

Second Place
The Old is Lost to the New
Makinzi Robinson, Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative

Just let the tears comes; let the rain fall
Let it pour out of me, to flood over all.
The days turn grey, and chilly, to numb bones
Feeling nothing and everything at once.
These emotions, or lack thereof, stay for months
Now after the trials you feel nothing.

From a Goshen tragic, to a trustless panic.
Both sides feeling the pain, but neither the same.
Friends have the ache, but only one takes the break.
Now with severed ties, and long cries
The time passes separated.
Nevertheless, there are awkward parts,
With the sides, trying to make new starts.

Third Place
Traveler, Traveler
Wendi Morrison, Sequachie Valley Electric Cooperative

Traveler, traveler, can’t you see,
The beauty that’s in Tennessee?
With rivers wide and valleys deep,
Rolling hills and mountains steep.

Traveler, traveler, don’t you know,
The cities here are all aglow,
With kindness that lets flowers grow.
Won’t you stop and say hello?

Traveler, traveler, can’t you tell,
That Tennessee is quite swell,
With lot’s of adventures to have as well,
Won’t you please stay for a spell?


Age 23–64

First Place
The Retreat of Summer
Edna Delk, Chickasaw EC

Harken to a misty wooded reveille
calling out across the rocked ridge in
Anticipation of white-tailed twins
emerging from a shrouded thicket.
Yellow sunflowers wink at the auburn horizon,
then bow beneath the weight of their halos.
Dew-glistened berries peek between nature’s gloss green fingers
and innocently surrender their secret summer hiding place.
Early garlands of morning glories tune their trumpets
to the wind’s whisper in rehearsal for an encore performance while
Nearby, snowy fluffs gripped in earthy talons stand in steadfast formation
to salute the retreat of summer.

Second Place
River Paradox
Travis Peek, Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation

Dawn’s light kisses gently your glistening face
Your skin shudders faintly, then comes to rest
As the soldiers pf silence, guard your beauty.
The steady rhythm of your heartbeat,
Peace bleeds through your veins
But, your swollen body enraged.
Your heart beats wildly!
Arteries tumescent with your rage!
Your silent soldiers cannot contain,
The anger of your raging soul!
O’Caney, O’Caney!
To your power, the silent soldiers bow
But, the darkness renders you blind…
Dawn, again kisses you gently
Your anger diminished
The secrets of your rage
Buried forever- beneath your tranquil face.

Third Place
Life is Good
Terry Weaver

Sunrise tendrils of firewood smoke
Whispering the arrival of
First October frost.

Back porch rockers creaking
On foggy mornings,
Steaming coffee,
A favorite flannel shirt.

The innocent, unbridled joy
Of a carrot-topped toddler
In his first pile of leaves.

Welcoming, unpretentious farmhouse kitchens,
Filled with love, laughter and the aroma of
Cornbread and apple pie.

Homecoming Friday nights,
Sweatshirt Saturdays.

Stealthy late afternoon shadows
Slowly engulfing the
Coves and hollers.

Sunsets…
Ablaze, stunning, yet
Burnished and peaceful.

The nostalgic scents of memory
Waft through the pages of time,
Through the attic of our souls…

Life, still, is good.


Age 65 and older

First Place
Dancer’s Song
Gary Hudson

My lady on the eve of autumn
Dances with the wind
Summer fades
As she circles the fire
Smoky mountains play charades
Light west wind enters the camp
Coming again
With the genius
Of a mountain stream
Cutting its path
Of solitary aftermath
She stops a while
Raising her hands
Bid summer’s end
With modest demands
The breeze relents
For the span of a breath
Then returns
Faintly cool
A welcome friend
Of seasons past
Autumn’s wind
We join hands
And watch the leaves
The silent sands
Only nature understands
My lady of autumn
Her dancer’s song.

Second Place
Orphaned Ancestors
Carol Oen, Tennessee Valley Electric Cooperative

Sipping Cracker Barrel’s satisfying coffee,
Captivated by a picture on the wall
Four eyes hone in on me.
Bodies fixed in stiffness, wearing Sunday clothes
They live together within an old wood rectangle.

Others hang too, as restaurant décor.
Portraits of one, a couple, or a group.
Men’s long beards, women’s pulled-back hair
Artistic brushing beyond the figures
Until the border tucks under the frame.

Who are they? How do families lose their heirlooms?
These never-smiling faces live here now
Orphaned ancestors rescued from obscurity
To pique my curiosity.

Third Place
Front Yard Eclipse
Carl Lowe, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

When that eclipse stood overhead
We looked up from my Tennessee front yard,
My sons and daughters awed in dimmed light,
Eyes blotted out by dark glasses.

The memory now
is like a dream —
The dramatic change in light
Angling at us,
Our minds caught in halted thought.

Our lives interrupted,
Our lives collectively paused,
Our lives frozen in place.
We were like actors waiting for our next lines
Beneath a special effect
That only reluctantly
And ever so slowly yielded to
The next scene,
Our fragmented drama
Resuming in less coherent light and shadow.

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