Tuesday, January 19

Poet’s Playground – September winners

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Age 8 and younger

First Place
Dance Around
Audra Lou Wolk, Meriwether Lewis EC

Everybody dance with me;
Light shines on our destiny.
Look at all the people smiling around;
My heart is full so do not frown!

Everybody finds a side,
From left to right
All the people dancing to my song.
The lights begin to dim;
we all come along.

The sun has set; we all go home.
When I go home I rest my head.
People dance around my mind.
I wake up. The sun has said,
“Come with me my sleepy head!”
We all dance and sing again.
We start with a special song.
It’s named: “When we sing along.”

Age 9–13

First Place
God of Healings
Alysianna Smith, Sequachee Valley EC

You’re the God of Healings,
You take my,
Wounds away,
When it hurts the most,
When it’s a double dose,
Yeah you come close.
When the pain is real,
What I feel,
Is You.
You take me to a place,
Where Your love overtakes.
Now I’m covered in your grace,
Your healing stays.
Nothing evil’s welcome here,
So you took my guilt,
Crushed my fear,
Flipped my crying,
Healed my hurting,
Heard my sighing,
Ended my searching …
’Cause You’re the God of Healings.

Second Place
Tennessee’s Great Beauty
Elissa Reeves, Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation

Tennessee is a place of beauty and great bravery, a place of singing birds, the whistle in the wind, the water flowing freely and the great Tennessee flag waving down at the people, America gave birth to Tennessee, the volunteer state of beauty and grace. My open thoughts about this place, this place is my home, and a home is where the heart is and my heart is here, the beautiful land of Tennessee, this place is my home from the very start, so Tennessee is my heart.

Third Place
Questions of Life
Nisha Javagal, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

Am I too short? Am I too tall?
Am I normal? Is that a thing at all?

When will I work? When will I grow?
Me being nice. A friend or a foe?

Can I just play? Or work hard then die?
What does it mean when you can’t reply?

Where do we go when we break the law?
How many fish can be killed by one straw?

Age 14–18

First Place
Innocent Man
Hamsa Javagal, Middle Tennessee EMC

I am beaten when I give-in
to cooperation.
I’m not regarded a citizen of this nation.
They handcuff me
and take out their sticks,
Their cameras “fall off”
and cannot be fixed.
First responders are called,
And at first sight — they shoot.
“It was an accident.”
“He seemed suspicious.”
The black man lay dead
where he did not rebel.
This is America, where I call home and
Polices’ hearts are made of Styrofoam.
I’ve tried to melt them with my courtesy,
But with melting hearts,
comes my misery.

Second Place
September’s Song
Scarlet Jones

The simple melody
the north wind sings
as it roams, restless,
through the flaming trees.

The honk and cry of geese,
flying arrows
pointing southward,
the perfect harmony.

The crackling warmth
of kindled home fires
warding off the crisp, chill,
early-autumn air.

The blithe laughter of children,
their smiles
tinged with joy,
at the annual county fair.

The call of a coyote
to the eye of heaven;
the bright, umber
Harvest Moon.

The chirping of birds
and squirrels gathering goods
for the winter that’s
coming soon.

Third Place
A Prayer
Michael Boe, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

I wake up slowly on a
Tennessee morn,
to see my country
divided and torn
passion spikes my heart
like a sharp well-honed thorn
but then I remember
only through hardship is true character born
so instead of rushing in
and picking a side
I choose grace and understanding
and stifle my pride
I pray for all
and I pray for patience
for sudden love
in intense situations
this is my prayer
that I pray
for every person
in every state
because only love
can stand up to hate.

Age 19–22

First Place
Finding the Reason
Cheyenne Lackey, Cumberland EMC

Where are the lies
Where is the deep seated nee
to find a reason
To locate it in the trickled down
water spouts
Clinging to the edges of small buildings
And the crates of expired newspapers
I cannot find truth
In the tarnished reputation
Created from the mouths of newcomers
And spread like a virus
In the empty streets
I still hear you
In empty buildings
I still hear you
Unable to erase the irreversible
You cling to the words that
Have always lingered
And halted your need to cry.
Where do you find
The courage
To be alive?

Second Place
My home’s beauty
David Smith, Fayetteville Public Utilities

The rivers here are devine, They twist, rush, and turn through the land like a vine. And the birds of the woods, the
crickets, and toads, they sing like a symphony near the old dirt roads. the laughing young children deep in
Tennessee hills, their joy, love, and playfulness echoing still. For my own shallow voice to join all this sound, I feel
like a cloud that will never come down. the changes of the world may always be untamed, but I pray this beauty
worth mentioning forever remains

Third Place
Sunday Evening
Madison Apple, Duck River Electric Membership Corporation

Children pick wild blackberries
Out by the dirt road,
Followed by their old mutt, Mary.
They then chase home a little toad.

Inside the farmhouse
The children play while supper is cooked.
Mother suggests a game of quiet-mouse
While she stirs a pot of collard greens.

After supper, the family rests in the living room
And discusses the weather.
Father suggests a trip to the washroom
For a young food covered Heather.

The sun sets behind the Tulip Poplars
And the fireflies come out to play.
Grandma pulls out her cobbler
And turns her oven off for the day.

Age 23–64

First Place
Are You Watching?
Wendi Morrison, Sequachee Valley EC

America bleeds injustice, an oil spill,
Overflowing hatred from the badge.
There’s not a place in this ocean,
That wouldn’t ignite
with dropped match.
The revolution is catching fire,
Cities burning, you watching now?
Peaceful protests, “protected” by the First,
Teargassed like wartimes,
survival of the worst.
Racism, a heart attack that won’t stop,
Pleading, “I can’t breathe”
to corrupt cops.
The 13th didn’t end slavery of
marginalized people,
Renamed it petty crimes, for free labor.
Mass incarceration, slavery is still legal!
The ocean is burning.
This isn’t a trend on the internet.
Videos of police brutality,
we’re desensitized,
People dying shouldn’t be minimized.

Second Place
Social Distancing
Leslie Stephens, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

I am trying to be good
Walking alone
In the soft spring rain
Slight smile to each cautious passerby
I journey off the concrete path
Onto the muddy floor of the woods
I say hello to early may apples glistening with raindrops
Parallel deer tracks by the creek
Wondering if they are watching me from
Their foreign privet post
An arboretum stretches out before me
Calling me out to converse as I study their bark
And blooms
And twig patterns
I am trying to be so good
Alone among the blooming pink redbuds
Our annual kinship is a welcome haven
From exhaust and challenges
In the distance the buffalo still roam close together in their herd
Inside the fence of Shelby Farms
No one tells them to be good
No one needs to hug them, slap them on the back or shake their hand
They just keep roaming across their assigned land

Third Place
Lisa Riley, Chickasaw Electric Cooperative

Sitting in the faded chair
She remembers when her hands were silk
Instead of weathered with veins
It wasn’t that long ago
Running through the dewy grass
Her skirt blowing with the wind
Weeping willows surrounding her
Along the Tennessee plains
She feels alone now yet strangely content
Time passes so fast
Youth replaced by age
As the golden sun sets outside her window
Mottled shadows cast figures on the wall
Clasping her hands together, she sighs
As summer turns to fall

Age 65 and older

First Place
August Playbill
Judith Duvall, Appalachian EC

A rare hue of palest green vies
with the amber tones that play
across the August stage of days,
a prelude to an end time. Puffs of yellow
wind carry the musk of harvests now
bulging promise of haylofts.
Withered meadows wait
in vain for cool deliverance,
one more moist suffusion
of glorious green, any reprieve
from the haze of flying chaff.
Maple leaves curl their pointed
star tips inward, pretending
the upcoming red and gold
an opening act, not a dress
rehearsal for a final curtain.

Second Place
The Restless Wind
Millie Ungren, Pickwick Electric Cooperative

Around corners she pounces
swinging stop lights
above rushing traffic
echoing across valleys
bending saplings and sage
pushing clouds against the sky
squeezing out the rain
she screams like grey ghost
crying in cemeteries
down chimneys at midnight
flinging curtains
where sleeping children cringe
she bites the determined mailman
struggling through snowdrifts
ripping under doors
across drafty rooms
where. hybernating families
long for sunny seasides
at Avon Park
clustered puffy feathered doves
coo softly in fear
she rides in open boxcars
over miles of steel track
blasting in harmony
with the whistling locomotives
“and they called her name Marriah”

Third Place
Mountain Serenity
Norma R. Macha

Serenity is sitting atop a mountain on a cool morning in May
Watching the golden sunlight burn away the morning mist
It’s the sound of wildlife waking to go about their day
Seeing fields far below with their patchwork palette
This beauty is serenity in it’s purest form I say

Hearing the wind whispering through the laden trees
The squirrels chittering, the birds serenade
Mountain Laurel full abloom, victuals for birds and bees.
What loveliness, what peace, a proper accolade

Celebrate in this glory, this moment of restful calm
Breathe in the solitude, the cadence of life
Be refreshed, rejuvenated, soothed with natures balm
Here, on this mountain that knows not strife

Come away with peaceful heart and mind
Rejoice the quietude, the perennity
Look for your mountain, and therein find
A haven of personal reflection, mountain serenity


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