Thursday, June 17

Poet’s Playground – September winners

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Age 8 and younger

First Place
Tennessee is Home
Sander Croezen, Cumberland EMC

Tennessee is home
And a pretty place
Tennessee is the Batman building
And horses on Broadway

Tennessee is love
And country stores
Tennessee is cabins
And mountains and more

Tennessee is cows and deer
And the Nashville zoo
Tennessee is good hospitals
And full of heroes too
(Like nurses and cops and stuff)


Second Place
Emma Tomlin, Middle Tennessee EMC

Tennessee is my home.
Were l like to roam.
Orange and White oh so bright,colors I love.
All those fans in the crowd like to be loud.
Oh l love Tennessee because it’s where I’m meant to be.
We all care about Tennessee,
Because we’re one big family.
We’re all happy with glee,
Because we’re a family.

Age 9-13

First Place
Luke Barnard, Gibson EMC

Autumn paints a beautiful light,
Across a leafy page.
It celebrates with bold delight,
The ecstasy of age.

The leaves fall softly through the air.
A drifting messenger.
It rides the breeze like a fleet-footed mare,
A windswept harbinger.

It tells a tale of cold to come,
Of Winter’s icy might.
A tale enough to fill a tome.
Best told ‘round fires light.

Frosty billows round us fly
The waning breath of fall.
With an enchanting goodbye,
Autumn shall die
Bidding farewell to us all.


Second Place
The Hills
Joel Slusser, Middle Tennessee EMC

Oh, I wish I could live forever,
Among the green, green hills,
Where trees grow so abundant
And the ferns grow at their will.
‘Tis Tennessee, my homeland,
Oh, I would love to stay,
And live among the green, green hills,
And never move away.


Third Place
Burgess Falls
Eric Niedzielski, Middle Tennesssee EMC

Burgess Falls
To me it calls
Cross the bridge
Start the fun
Gaze at the trees
Feel the sun
Hike the path
Be amazed at the view
Snap some shots
God made this for me and you
Wade in the water
See the power
Of the white, falling water
Every minute of every hour
On the way home
Thinking about the time you had
Relax and ponder what your senses said
And how Burgess Falls made you glad

Age 14-18

First Place
Tennessee Lullaby
Hannah Brotherton, Southwest Tennessee EMC

I have seen the darkened nights,
When shooting stars streaked the sky
Snuggled close, looked up high,
At those millions of twinkling lights.
The sparking glow of the milky way,
High above where we lay.
The warmth of summer wrapped around us,
And faded was the light of dusk.
The rumble of traffic in the distance,
The hum of crickets stayed persistent.
Long grass rustled, in the calm
The frogs joined in to croak their song.
The cool wind blew a whispering sigh,
This is Tennessee’s lullaby.


Second Place
Stories and Smoke
Hannah Hubin, Middle Tennessee EMC

I have heard the stories
of the battles fought
on this southern land. They are not all
white and bright and clear, nor are they all
black and dark and despairing,
but both together,
each dense and gray,
heavy yet lifted up,
a past high and held
that refracts the light of the present,
like the smoke that crests these mountains.


Third Place
Daughter of the Border
Anna Stuart

Eleven long years I have lived,
On clay-red Mississippi soil.
Such memories made, so many days,
To smile, sorrow, play, and toil.

Four miles north there lies a line,
The southern edge of Tennessee,
And all the ties forged on that side,
Make it a second home to me.

My grandma lives in Germantown.
My best friend long claimed Somerville.
My father works from Memphis,
And our church home is there as well.

True daughter of the border am I,
Yet not in either state I pride,
But in the South, the wondrous whole.
There does my lasting loyalty lie.

Age 19-22

First Place
Lightning Storm
Rory Gilson, Middle Tennessee EMC

There is wrath in the sky
The lightning speaks,
While the thunder commands silence.

The wind responds with a resounding breath.
The trees tremble with angst,
While the hill come alive.

Time passes with haste
The day succumbs to the warmth of the sun,
While the sky returns to its own shade of blue.

Age 23-64

First Place
Gabriel Seals, Sequachee Valley EC

First, the bullfrog
sweet signal of coming
summer and inevitable fall,
knowledge that the world is

Next, the afternoon
herald of wonder and rest,
bringer of porch swings and sunsets,
reminder of tomorrow and

Later, the lake
solemn keeper of our prizes,
our hooks, our lines, and our sinkers.
Our enemy and our supply, we wrestle

Finally, the mountain
bearer of blessing to the
valley, protector of our wind
and fields. We exalt in the depths,
and rest in its height.


Second Place
Southern Halloween
Hunter Keough, Pickwick Electric Cooperative

They fly Confederate flags
like tired ghosts, like memory.
Yet no one alive today
has one sound or sight of time.
The mind, like fear, wears
costumes of itself.

But the carving of faces, all those
featureless guts stare brightly
with the Northern light inside.
This is to say
our lives all haunt each other.

And candy corn burns
in the gums–a sweetness:
the charring of fields
and a wandering from home.

Peace comes late sometimes
begging dawn or dowsing candles.


Third Place
Tennessee Memories
Phillip Earhart, Cumberland EMC

I travel an old forgotton Tennessee country backroad,
Childhood memories to decode,
The sweet smell of fired tobacco,
I feel calm as by a meadow,
Over ripe orange persimmons tart and sweet,
Crisp leaves crunching under my feet,
Sourgrum mollassses on Grandma’s biscuits in my eye,
Papa’s overalls and his Farmall tractor reving high,
Neighbor front porch chats and smiles,
I walk for miles and miles……

Age 65 and older

First Place
Reflections of a Cumberland Caverns Guide
Jim B. Smith, Middle Tennessee EMC

A place where time has lost the race –
Where then matters not when
Where becoming is non-coming –
Only now lulls within earth the carapace.
An hourglass of stone drips liquid sand
And forms itself keeper of the time,
For each drop solidifies in a hoary rime.
In this way time moves not its hand.

Crickets speck the ceiling and walls,
White weed fungi fill below stairway,
Errant seeds seek electric light and stall.
Tourists come and go, stop but do not stay,
A man photographs with thoughts of capturing All.
All this an hour on stage of play.


Second Place
Tennessee’s Finest
Jack C. Boone, Middle Tennessee EMC

He’s just an ordinary guy
Like so many that you meet
But something makes him different
From others on the street.
He is a veteran.

In his mind are memories
He’d like to leave behind
Of bitter days in combat
They clutter up his mind
He is a veteran.

Flashbacks of the horrors
Of war, of death, of fright
They writhe his every muscle
and wake him up at night.
He is a veteran.

He wants no praise or glory
Here’s all he asks of you
Love our flag ad country
Give him respect he’s due.
He is a veteran.


Third Place
Grandfather Awakens Me Each Morning
Bobby Geans

As I sit here and rock
And observe that old clock.

He takes me back in time.

He awakens me each morning
With a most beautiful chime.

He is always there
With this back to the wall.

With his old cobweb hair and beard
Old dusty face and rusty hands.

His pendulum squeaks,
But that is because he’s antique.

And I’m sure he’ll be around,
Until the end of time.


About Author

Robin Conover has spent the last 23 years documenting the people and places of Tennessee with The Tennessee Magazine. After graduating from Murray State University, Robin began working for magazine in October 1988 as a communications specialist and photojournalist. She now serves as TECA vice president of communications and editor of The Tennessee Magazine. Her interest in preserving the environment and Tennessee’s beautiful natural areas has led her down many miles of trails to capture thousands of images. Robin is currently a board member of the Friends of Radnor Lake, a nonprofit in Nashville. Robin’s images can be seen in greeting cards, calendars, books and at a few fine-art shows she participates in each year.

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