Age 8 and younger
Clouds Over Tennessee
Damien Quillen, Meriwether Lewis EC
Above the grand divisions,
there are fluffy cotton balls.
Some are stretched out thin,
while others are puffy and tall.
They fill up full with water
that free falls down as rain.
They provide relief in summer heat
in the form of shade.
Before the night is quite a sight
as their color change begins.
Purples, blues, oranges and pinks
will bring the day to an end.
Sadie Law, Southwest Tennessee EMC
had a cent
and he went
and he went
Audrey Rodriquez, Middle Tennessee Electric
I see them along the highway,
Smiling up at me
Their petals like sunshine
In beautiful Tennessee
They bring light on rainy days
They shine at night
Like stars on the ground
So beautiful and bright
They are drops of gold on the farm
And precious gems in a garden
And will soften any heart
That has already been hardened
With their golden petals
And big, black eyes
These flowers stand tall
Shining towards the sky
Flowers are a blessing
And my favorite of them all
Are the ones that stand beautiful and tall
The Black-eyed Susans of Tennessee
Why is the world so tough
Why is the world so tough
It always comes harsh
From in the womb till I’m born
Nobody can feed me all the time
Nobody can be there all the time
High school has come
I don’t know what to do
People are rude
And I’m not the best looking
My first house
It has been great living with my spouse
Oh child oh sweet child of mine
You are mine and mine forever
Oh grandchild oh grandchild
How clever you are
I love you
And spoil you with all my heart
But the toughest part about the world
Is having to leave everyone behind
Mountains, Rivers, Cold Creeks, and Shivers
Shay Simpson, Meriwether Lewis EC
Coming from the heart, I’ll tell you
that Tennessee is something special.
Cowboys, guitars, horses, and bars,
Mountains, rivers, cold creeks, and shivers.
Memories both sad and good-
I’d revisit them if I could.
I’ve lived here my whole life,
and I never want to go.
I’ll just sit on my front porch
and watch the snow.
I’ll think over my past adventures-
of mountains, rivers, cold creeks, and shivers.
Alexandria Miller, Upper Cumberland EMC
Two years come and go
Days feel like decades
Six feet begins to feel like six hundred
New experiences are forfeited
Memories are lost
Our homes begin to feel like prisons
We become trapped like a caged animal
Masks hinder our breath
The privilege of smelling the fresh air
Sides prepare for battle
The fight feels never ending
All the while
Animals run freely
Plants grow once again
Our planet is healing while we are dying
Nisha Javagal, Middle Tennessee Electric
The moon gleams peacefully in the sky.
The crickets chirp and the wolves howl.
The families sleep comfortably and calmly.
The anxious thoughts fade away into the night sky.
The moon gleams wistfully in the sky.
The crickets chirp and the wolves howl at zilch.
The families sleep with terrors.
The anxious thoughts creep in from the night sky.
Things aren’t always what they seem.
where do we go from here.
Cheyenne Lackey, Cumberland EMC
Nothing will be left unsaid
About the way we leave and arrive.
Feels like a costume
S kin becomes cloth and we are
paranoid of our
Feels alien to live in my skin.
No one feels like everyone
And I’m drowning in somebody else’s
Each time I breathe.
How do you manage to be
In a state of unrest
Yet your nerves are merciless?
All the lights in the building shut off
But the fire alarm is still active.
Wires catching fire
But the lights are on.
So I think I’ll continue
To hold my breath.
Life in the forest.
David Smith, Fayetteville Public Utilities
The Chirping and burble of birds and Brooks,
the swaying and rocking of branches and leaves.
Furry heads peeking out of wooden nooks,
feathered newborns in nests deftly weaved.
The trail stretched and protruding,
through a wood both untamed and unsheared.
The depths of the forest secluding,
hiding Secrets and wonders where no eyes have peered.
Take me to hear nature’s sweet-sounding chorus,
whisk me out of this old life and leash.
Leave me to live on that trail through the forest,
and my life will be full and finally at peace.
Making the Most of It
The holidays are almost here!
It’s finally time to travel home.
Sweet tea and rocking chairs on the front porch;
Cinnamon and ginger in the kitchen;
Laughing, hugging, and reminiscing—
Remembering happy times together.
New memories will come
As the years go
Then I will look back on full years—full of love.
But now is what matters, and with God’s help,
I’ll make the most of it.
Lisa Riley, Chickasaw EC
While she sleeps
The moon shines bright
Memories dance across the canvas of
Intertwined in Technicolor dreams
Past and present collide
While she sleeps
A lone mockingbird cries
On course to fly home with heaven in
Cicadas and crickets sing in unison
Nature’s choir, no conductor presides
While she sleeps, she feels at peace
All of the world’s worries hidden from
Tonight in her dreams, a loved one visits
her offering respite
Oh the joy of this dreamworld
Her mind feels renewed and revived
Until daylight’s crest breaks
Eyes opening slowly as she awakes
Britanny Ash, Middle Tennessee Electric
When the world seems to be falling apart
I retreat to my little corner of the world—
to rolling hills standing tall against a cotton-candy sky
to wide-open pasture land in the valley, dotted with cows
to wind-swept hay fields flowing like waves in the ocean
or to misty skies reaching down to blanket the tree-covered hills— turning orange and yellow and red in the fall
to ice-crusted tree limbs and snow-laden rooftops
To coyote calls and cicada hums and good morning calls from the rooster down the way.
Yes. When the world is full of grief,
I find solace here.
Misty Spicer, Meriwether Lewis EC
To call it my home,
Is an honor and bliss.
Everywhere I have wondered,
It’s here that I miss.
From the west and the middle,
And even the east,
It’s where I call home,
To say the least.
A mind of its own,
With great southern pride.
Living here is a privilege,
So many have tried.
From hunting to fishing,
Friday night football games,
Small towns and fried foods,
It’s all the same.
Growing our food,
And raising our tribes,
If you don’t know by now,
As Volunteers-It’s our vibe.
Age 65 and older
See with Your Heart
Sandra Fortune, Mountain EC
Close your eyes,
What do you see in the darkness?
Life quickly becomes a dark void
Sighted folks can still
imagine amazing images
People born without sight
cannot experience these
Each of the five senses provide
visual images for a
For a blind person,
emotions evolve with
the other four senses
Country music legend,
Ronnie Milsap, who was born blind,
says, “I see with my heart.”
Stretch, grow, believe and learn
to see with your heart!
Autumn in Tennessee
Millie Ungren, Pickwick EC
Between the great mountains
And the big river
Green summer has performed
Taken a frosty bow
Left the stage, encore! Encore!
Abandoned cornfields tangle
Late blooms perfume the air
Burning red sumac march along
Creekbanks like sentries
On guard duty
The killdeer flit from
Haystack to haystack
Feathered songsters converse
Some say the copperhead
Lies still as stone in willows
One eye cracked just enough
To catch a foolish dragonfly
An old dog sounds a haunting howl
Perhaps to remind us
He is the keeper of the path
A young wind stirs brittle leaves
Welcome autumn in Tennessee
Roxanna Neslund Lawdonski, Cumberland EMC
I have traveled the steep roads up to Jellico.
I scaled the summit and peered through the wispy mist.
I watched a train disappear into the side of a mountain.
I stood under that old drip rock.
I chased switchbacks, that chased me back.
I’ve smelled the smoke of a hundred chimneys.
I crossed bridges, longer trucks could never cross.
I stuck my feet in the creek, and watched the minnows scatter.
Through hills and hollows, I persisted.