Poet’s Playground

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Age 8 and younger

First Place
Hummingbird
Shiloh Varni, Middle Tennessee EMC

My hummingbird friend is tiny
Her feathers are bright and shiny
Flying so fast
She’s looking for drink
Her babies are hungry and whiny.


Age 9-13

First Place
My River Side Tree House
Zoey Thomas Danicks, Powell Valley EC

Down the valleys
Beyond the grass field,
over three huge hills
flows a steady colorful river
Giving life to everything in its path
A few paces beyond the river
Built by my favorite oak lies a tree house. My tree house.
A place to wonder.
When the sun rises after a long starry night. When the birds chirp, it’s time to play at my river side tree house.

Second Place
The Death of Summer
Luke Barnard, Gibson Electric Membership Corporation

The most lamentable of days
For which the crickets cried
And cicadas called their creaking dirge
The day the summer died.
The leaves lost their ebullient green
With mournful auburn left.
Rose petals lost their crimson sheen
As dewy tears were wept.
The Autumn did console them,
But, O, in vain he tried,
For everything cold to them
The day the summer died.

Third Place
Most Beautiful Thing
Evessica Young, Appalachian Electric Cooperative

Most Beautiful Thing
What is the most beautiful thing?
Is it a song we can sing?
Or maybe the sights to see in spring?
Perhaps a vow and wedding ring?
The smiles and joy
of young girls and boys,
As they create their cheerful noise?
The most beautiful thing
is our lord and savior
who gave us our voice to sing,
and created the sights in spring,
who blesses the vows and wedding rings,
Who gives us joy,
to girls and boys,
And listens to their cheerful noise,
He created our Tennessee,
That is the most beautiful thing.


Age 14-18

First Place
Reflections on Baptist Memorial Hospital (Memphis, Tennessee)
Anna Stuart, Olive Branch, Mississippi

Sterility of gurney and rails
Identical drab beige
To halls labyrinthian.
Chaos of innumerable cords
Like puzzled figments of a spider’s web.
Pathos of blankets
Sickly as a shroud
And dull sage curtains brooding solemnly.
Haphazard ultimatum of alarms
Abrasive and insistent
As the white
Repetitive rectangles emanate.

Bewildering so mute, inanimate
An edifice Should fated stand to foster Existence.
Naught here dissolves utterly agony
Of suffering
Nor casts grievances of man
Or essence failing
Or nature’s ruthless ruin
Into oblivion.
And yet I cling to potence
Of a Word
Whose hope may even sorrow dissipate

Second Place
West Tennessee Woodlands
Erin Cogdell, Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

Branches sway in the sweet morning breeze,
Squirrels run rampant up and down huge oak trees,
The songbird whistles his quaint melody,
In the wonderful woodlands of West Tennessee.
Nature puts on a sweet perfume
Of a lovely rainstorm and a honeysuckle bloom,
And the crickets begin to chirp peacefully,
In the wonderful woodlands of West Tennessee.
The dazzling sun has come and now goes,
Painting the clouds with gold and tea rose.
The lightning bugs glow and the daytime recedes,
In the wonderful woodlands of West Tennessee.

Third Place
Journey of Wondering
Gwyneth Runyen, Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation

Spring or fall, fall or spring
Feverish freeness
Flooding through
Do I have little, or do I only have all
Memories as reveries
Coruscate within
Bright light
Amber
Gold
Take flight
Solely in my head
You hear, I hear
Whistling wind
Blustery dreams
A feeling
That makes you believe
One can do almost anything
Feel, feel
Nearly bitter chill
Test the breeze, behold the heavens
Belief is mine


Age 19-22

No entries


Age 23-64

First Place
Autumn Closing In
Terry Weaver, Duck River EMC

Afternoon shadows lengthen,
The sun no longer stings
It caresses … gently
Burnishing the early evening in muted hues.

The silence … deafening, broken only
By the feathery impact of the first retiring leaves
And the lonely concert of a mockingbird
Down the gravel road.

Mornings, misty once again,
Break gently with the smell of coffee
And the echoes of a loon.

Nights grow soft and breezy,
Distant thunder lingers and languishes.
The lakes begin to chill, the harvest stalks to curl …

Apples are falling, pumpkins ripening,
Acorns grow heavy and
First frost will soon appear

October, is but a page away.

Second Place
Home
Veronica Burniston, Mountain Electric Cooperative

What is Tennessee to me?
Tennessee is a pasture dotted with cows,
The mountains enveloped in mist;
It is a quiet August morning
Broken only by the robin’s song;
It is a long and windy road.
Tennessee is the smell of coffee
And sausage and eggs;
It is the sunrise- red and gold
And fierce over a sea of pines and poplars.
Tennessee is a story of hope in the frontier,
Courage in the gathering at Fort Watauga,
And peace in the green, fertile valleys.
Tennessee is many things,
But above all it is my home.

Third Place
A Veteran
Marvin Saylors, Caney Fork Electric Cooperative

He is just a regular guy
Just like someone you would meet,
But there is something different
From other people, you meet on the street.
He is a veteran.

He doesn’t look any different
On how he smiles or talks
He has not lost any body parts in combat
No change in the way he walks
He is a veteran

But he does have memories
He wants to leave behind
Of bad days in combat
They mess with his mind.
He is a veteran


Age 65 and older

First Place
The Other Side of Now
Millie Ungren, Adamsville

I was not there
I am recent
In my mind’s eye
I see the old road
A passway carved by
A thousand steps
When the Cherokee Nation walked

I see the stagecoach
And four horses where I ride
Racing across time
In my mind’s eye
I see the crucifix blooms
Of the pure and holy dogwood flower
The sweetgum’s prickly seed balls
Litter my path

The night is electrified
Orion ripping through Heaven
Stardust trailing
The seasons holler
Songs I’ve never sung
I was not there
I am recent
Living, in way-back time.

Second Place
Tennessee Night Trees
Joan Binkley, Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation

I, ‘neath the Night Tree, looking up through its bough,
Catching glimpses of moon where the leafings allow,
And sightings of star and formations of cloud,
And offerings of jet trails cutting high ‘ore its brow.
Thenceforth from tranquility charms the Mockingbird’s gifts
Of intuitive tunes—then to “covering” it drifts
And replicates melodies and airs it’s heard–
No opus or repertoire could surpass THIS bird!
Suddenly, overhead scuttles disturb sweet reveries;
Is Night Life up there in the heights of Night Trees?
A hanging O’Possum–in fact, there all along;
So with shivering hysteria, I scurry on home.

Third Place
Rain Moods
Dolly Kimbel, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

You hear no sound
Neither can you see it.
Only if you feel its velvety soft touch
Do you know it’s there at all.
And then you hear its steady rhythm
And see it hit like sparks a-flying,
And you feel it tingle
As it puts its prickly fingers all around you.
Then again it sounds like someone beating on the roof
And looks like steam being blown hither and yon.
And you feel its sting go deep,
As it pelts you without mercy.

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