Our new monthly Tennessee-themed poetry contest is off to a fantastic start! Congratulations to our first winners and runners-up.
Age 8 and younger
The Tennessee Animals
Walking down a trail, seeing the iris flower.
Hearing the mockingbird.
Riding on the walking horse.
Seeing a honeybee hive.
Catching a largemouth bass.
Watching the raccoon scurry.
The Eastern box turtle is in the water.
The bobwhite quail is flying high.
Macy Sanders, Age 8
Honey Bee (Tennessee’s agricultural insect)
Flying from flower to flower
Must make honey to eat
MaryAnn Johnson, Holston Electric Cooperative
Freshwater pounds in Tennessee
Stay away from me
Dante Johnson, Holston Electric Cooperative
Age 9 – 13
The Clinch Mountain Song
oh the Clinch Mountain song
how could I hear it wrong
the leaves rustling in the evening would
how the big black bear stood
in the morning the Brook’s song
and how the bird tweeted along
how the stick broke in two
when the deer came right through
the sound of the hoofbeat on the ground
when we rode all around
oh how I love Tennessee
it is just the place for me
oh the Clinch Mountain song
how could I ever hear it wrong.
Aaron Whitney, Powell Valley Electric Cooperative
Three Stars Across My Heart
My homeland shines free.
Of the stars upon our flag
And they odd up to three.
The home of the Cherokee.
From the tribe of the Tansi
Our state name that come to be.
Up in 1796.
Standing hand in hand
Just wanting to expand our land
Volunteering with soldiers since 1812
With the help of President Jackson
Though winning the war wasn’t a part of a job done.
Our music stands us tall.
Touching many hearts
By touching the hearts of all.
Naomi Igbinovia, Middle Tennessee EMC
I love a Tennessee morning,
On a summer’s day;
Everything’s so glorious,
In the most delightful way.
The sun is peaking upwards,
The earth begins to warm;
Amazing works of nature,
Simply, is just the norm.
There is a sense of wonderment,
At how things look so new;
The flowers grow with freshness,
From last night’s dew.
The beauty all around you,
Would take away your breath;
You’d feel you’d like to soak it in,
Until there’s nothing left.
There’s nothing like a Tennessee morning,
On a summer’s day,
It’s such an amazing production,
It seems we all should pay.
Lori Robinson, Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation
Age 14 – 18
Cherry Blossoms floating down,
like graceful girls in silken gowns.
Graceful girls with hanging heads,
yawn and drift down to their beds.
Soft, warm beds of fluffy moss,
not one dream shall be of loss.
Cherry Blossoms, lying down,
Frost turns pink gowns into brown.
Waiting for the time to show,
for them to help a seed to grow.
From loving hands and caring mothers,
grows a tree unlike the others.
But one sad thought, it bothers some,
that one day its time will come.
To drop its lovely, golden wear,
and no more leaves its limbs will bear.
Carson Honeycutt, Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative
A Southern Funeral
A southern funeral
Is always the same
The preacher stutters
Through the obituary
But somehow manages
To slip in a comment
About Jesus and
A choir sings
An old hymn
While the people attending
Try to hum along
The family cries
As the message is bring preached
A calm is suddenly spread
And one by one
Courtney Napier, Powell Valley Electric Cooperative
So many places in this world,
full of diverse cultures.
But there’s only one home.
For me, it’s Rocky Top, the Chattanooga
Choo Choo, and Music City.
It’s the Tennessee River and the
Great Smoky Mountains.
Home is waking up for church, and staying up to catch fireflies.
It’s the chants of Go Vols, Titans, and Preds.
It’s the contagious smiles at a cookout,
and the tears shed for lost loved ones.
Home is the thank-yous and yes ma’ams.
Home is a feeling, a constant magnet throughout life.
Home is Tennessee.
Haley White, Tennessee Valley Electric Cooperative
Age 19 – 22
Beauty is …
It’s the perfect ensemble of colors.
Beauty is …
It’s hard lines and soft edges.
Beauty is …
It’s the scent of morning dew.
Beauty is …
Waking up next to the one you love,
Eating Thanksgiving dinner
and watching the game.
It’s traveling with the kids,
To The Great Smoky Mountains,
The Big Apple, The Grand Canyon,
And explaining how they got their names.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,
And in the nose, on the tongue,
in the ears as well.
True beauty must leave a mark on the mind.
Magnificence cannot be forgotten
Bethany Binkley, Cumberland Electric Membership Corp.
Seasons of Tennessee
Tree leaves of many colors
Then they turn brown and
fall to the ground, days and nights
Are cool, this is Fall
But wait Winter is not long
away, trees are bare snow is
falling there’s even a chill in
the air, then here comes Spring
much warmer air but rain, rain, rain
but thats okay the flowers bloom
and grow but before you know it
Summer is here, hot and dry
with sunshine so bright everything
is green but I wouldn’t change a
thing these are the seasons that
Make Tennessee great!
Danielle Johnson, Caney Fork EC
Age 23 – 64
He is red,
almost unnaturally so.
Red like a man-made
stop sign nailed fast
to the middle
of an ash-gray tree.
Red, not like blood,
but like flowers
or hummingbird feeders
that drip a cool,
dribble on the tongue.
A red so against
the dull, moss-covered
giant who stands
beneath his feet.
Red that takes over
the green, the gray,
the great giant’s sway —
He is red,
and I am watching,
his every move.
Red — yes, you,
this I wonder,
is it possible,
might be watching
Rachel Pate, Middle Tennessee EMC
An Old Farmer
I think the farmer is dead –
who last used this
rusted plow and disc harrow –
tools now treed-in by hickories
in the ground
they broke open decades ago.
into the ground,
as farmers –
the very ground
which made them all
useful and used,
a ground unclaimed by death,
but claimed by the living
who only pass through these woods
to stop and think about
lost tools and old farmers.
Somewhere stands a headstone
tilting slowly in sand
over some brittle bones,
“I was useful and used, a man”.
Michael Finley, Duck River Electric Membership Corporation
There are ever-spreading pimples of houses and strip malls on its surface
And highway scars everywhere,
But that’s not Tennessee.
The beautiful rugged bones of the mountains,
The slow amber blood of our rivers,
The rich dark skin of the land from which green growing things spring,
The breath of the mist rising golden on a summer morning,
The unexpected voices of music heard from street corners, campfires, and front porches;
That is what’s in us, part of us,
That is our strength.
That is what lasts.
That is Tennessee.
Diane Martin, Sequachie Valley Electric Cooperative
Age 65 and up
Echo of the Cherokees
When Center Hill was Caney Fork
Before the river was a lake
In a bygone time when the water would wind
Through these hills like a copperhead snake
Right here, where houseboats float, and motorboats
Play on a man-made sea
There lived and loved and fought and died
A people called the Cherokee
And on Center Hill when the night gets still
And a warm wind plays in the trees
You hear it low, but you somehow know
That’s not really the breeze
It’s the echoed shout of an Indian scout
Searching for the Cherokee
Hazel Felts, Caney Fork Electric Cooperative
A Season to Fall (For)
October, November –
Autumn’s here surely.
Our frequent fortune:
A new season sent!
New season scent:
Crushed leaves I think,
And wild persimmon,
Zinnias before frost cut,
Potato treasure all dug,
and winter squash.
A season seen
In flame-colored trees,
Slanted gold light
Dusting a stream.
A season you can breathe in,
Your bedroom so cool,
Creatures quiet outside,
Covers puffed and piled high.
Roll back cold thoughts
Of days ahead
So not to think
And not to dread
A season for falling.
With maple leaves drift
Down from the branches,
Swirl, float, and then…lift.
Nancy Bell, Powell Valley Electric Cooperative
The last of summer’s Monarchs
sip sweet nectar from the flowers,
as Mocking birds sit mocking
on Duck River’s lines of power.
Tulip poplar trees are donning
skirts of every golden hue,
to say that winter’s a comin’
and, ‘taint nothing we can do…
‘cept batten down the hatches
as Mother Nature does her due.
When winter brings her sparkling coat
of crystals and the snow,
you know that spring’s not far behind
with her effervescent glow.
No matter what the season
rest assured it’s plain to see,
no place enjoys more splendor
than the State of Tennessee!
Peggy Patton Hartline, Duck River EMC