Saturday, December 14

Poet’s Playground – August Winners

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Age 8 and younger

First Place
The work of the wind
Beckett Smith, Sequachee Valley EC

The wind is blowing,
The leaves are flowing.
I see the leaves being tossed around.
I watch the leaves being pushed to the
The wind itself I cannot see,
I feel it blow me,
If it’s fast enough I hear it.
It drives the rains,
It makes hurricanes.
The wind blows down the strongest
Like trees, logs, even houses.
You can play in the wind,
You can fly a kite.
I like the wind that is just right, Because it makes a breeze.
God made the wind,
And the wind is always at work for

Age 9-13

First Place
Taking A Step
Olivia Lang, Cumberland EMC

As the light dims
And the sun begins to set,
I climb up the worn wooden steps
That lead to the attic.
Old memories greet me
And the smell of old books
Makes me sneeze softly.
But one book grabs my interest
And I leave my perch
At the top of the stairs
To get a closer look.
The words of the title
Are blurred but inside
An aging inscription waits.
“See the world!”
It reads.
I smile and sit to read more.
The small book may be old,
But the words are just as inspiring as

Second Place
The Great Oak
Autumn Padgett, Appalachian Electric Cooperative

Down into the mysterious woods of Tennessee,
I trace my tracks.
I’ve been there before.
A Great Oak
Holds for me a swing just as grand
As Cinderella’s carriage would have been.
I fly in my swing
To my care-free world of imagination,
The Oak, my swing and I.
This Oak is my special secret,
The Oak, my swing and the woods of Tennessee.

Third Place
The Woods
Hannah Hughes, Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

Crackling leaves underfoot.
Spots of sunlight,
Dancing on the forest floor.
Bright green leaves,
Shaking and rustling.
Shadow and light,
Alternate with time.
A deer stands in the shadows,
Seeing but not seen.
A bird squawks and flutters,
Crying a warning call.
A squirrel chatters,
Skittering on top of the leaves.
A fox runs swiftly.
A rabbit hops lazily,
Nibbling on succulent grass.
These are the wonders of the woods.

Age 14-18

First Place
Grandiose Origins
Anna Rose Williams, Middle Tennessee EMC

Glistening sunshine
Her gentle arms lifting the Earth, using
the rich clay terrain as
a bowl to sip as
the sun dripped like honey onto her
aged palette
The oak leaves slipping from her worn
hands with each sip, the land coming
from each taste
Her very breath, soft in texture, laden in
drops of earthy rain, dancing through
the land she created at her fingertips
The soft smell of honeysuckles and
daisies lingering
Tennessee, my dear
Carefully woven with sunshine and pure

Second Place
Summer Dusk
Scarlet Jones, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

When the inky hues of twilight
Paint a canvas on the sky,
The crickets tune their symphony;
Their music lilting high.

When the irises perfume the air
Sweetening the breeze,
It swirls through the tree-tops,
Gently rustling the leaves.

When the mist of the evening
Descends upon the grasses,
The drops reflect the stars
Like a thousand looking-glasses.

When the fireflies twinkle,
A soft, subtle glow,
They light up the dark
As they dance to and fro.

When the mockingbird calls
From its poplar abode,
I know that, under the sun,
I am home.

Third Place
Away, Remembering
William Haslam, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

Memory’s screen alights—the days replay.
The latest temper-tweak forgets I’m here
And watches with me. Today on thought-display:
The skyline of an adolescent year.
I see again the double-spired tower
And Music City’s spiky overspill
Which crowds but doesn’t crush the folded flower
Nor overtake the undulating hills…
But I am far, perhaps lost. I sigh
With company, music, and air too dry.
These Rocky Mountain cliques personify
A soul desert. I thirst for southern sky;
For though I may walk a wayward offshoot,
A growing plant will always drink from roots.

Age 23-64

First Place
Tennessee Backroads
Christina Anderson, Middle Tennessee EMC

Tennessee backroads twist and turn like
an old oak’s roots in Southern soil.
They cross and curve like aged tobacco
twists and hand-hewed wood in red,
“Rock City” Barns.
Tennessee backgrounds hold and hug
like well-worn hands on whittling
wood and mama’s hands on home-
made apron strings.
Tennessee backroads welcome and wave
like a grapevine basket and a robust
hand thrown up for any passerby. Tennessee
backroads are made and mapped
like family records in an old Bible’s
parchment pages.
Tennessee backroads like a dinner bell or
mama’s voice, call us all back; to our
history, our heart, and our home.

Second Place
Breath of a Day
Deborah Spicer, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation

Chirping melodies of birds commences,
Nature’s alarm signals it’s morning time,
Orange hues awakens predawn’s sky,
Shades of pink trails as sun slowly climbs.

Children’s laughter fills the air,
Mingling with smells of fresh, fallen rain,
Whimsy abounds as dogs walk their owners,
Earth vibrates from a distant, clacking train.

Hummers hover over rainbow gardens,
Greetings exchange as neighbors come and go,
Mowing promises smells of fresh cut grass,
Onset of dusk prompts fireflies to glow.

Last remnant of sun dips below horizon,
Full moon climbs star laden sky,
Nocturnal creatures increase serenading voices,
Day surrenders, whispering goodbye.

Third Place
Simple Pleasures
Terry Weaver, Duck River Electric Cooperative

Slowly, gently, the lights dim
As the lightening bugs
Waltz their encore.

Kids have time for one more game.
Laughter filters through soft,
Heavy honeysuckle air.

‘Mater sandwiches and fried okra
Linger on the palate,
Chased by sweet tea in former jelly jars,
Condensation trickling down the sides.

Fading evening heat wicks incense
From cooling fields,
And crickets hum approval
To the rhythm of breaking beans.

The porch creaks,
The screen door quietly slaps.
The sun yawns away as
Indigo velvet cloaks the rounded bales.

Priceless, irreplaceable are life’s
Simple pleasures.

Wonder what the poor rich folks
Are doing tonight?

Age 65 and older

First Place
Becoming a Martin
Kristie Beavers, Duck River EMC

I watched them soar and dive,
dip and swirl,
above the gravity of earth.
From sheltered comfort of my porch,
I watched them.
Later, on a peaceful walk,
beneath a towering tree,
I stooped in reverence to touch
the truth revealed to me.
I held its lifeless form within
the cup of human hand,
caressed each purple, feathered wing
and shining head.
I traced the half-closed eye with fingertip,
marveled at its lofty view.
My own reflection mirrored there,
I came to know, who’s watching who.

Second Place
The Bean Picker
Judith Duvall, Appalachian Electric Cooperative

Like a leggy heron feeding at pond’s edge
he leans toward the vines. Broad thumb pushes
stem from vine. Green runners, plump bulges
revealing hidden beans, drop from calloused
palm into a pail at his feet.

The sun’s yet to rise on the mid-summer day,
already he’s finished barn feeding, gathered eggs,
readied the tractor for the hayfield.

I watch from the shaded porch as scuffed boots
scoot the pail down neat rows, steady rhythm
for a task well known. Shep, tail wagging in patient
swipes, waits at garden’s edge for his soft-voiced
partner, the steady, gentle hand we both hold dear.

Third Place
Old Barns
Millie Ungren, Pickwick Electric Cooperative

Early morning fog whispers
crystal droplets
Conversations in tree tops
awakens the world
Old tin roofs, rust covered
answer with faded red paint

Sagging stable doors
give passage to memories
Corn-cob fights, hide and seek
Ladders to the loft
find nestling barn owls
Disturbed, seek safety in flight

A milkmaid’s triple-legged stool
and dented bucket
Hold gossamer cobwebs and wasp nests
Forgotten saddles and bridles
hang on wooden pegs

The scent of clover hay
permeates my senses
Gallant horses race through
my mind’s eye
Slim Boy and Shorty
I ride with the west wind

Old barns are forever.


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