Age 8 and younger

First Place
Dark Nights in Mount Juliet
Lauren Scott, Middle Tennessee Electric

I lay in bed
Quietly.
I’m trying to fall asleep.
I look at the ceiling
Thinking
Scary thoughts.
I see a shadow in the window!
I grab my stuffy and hug him
Tight.
I lay in bed
Quietly.
I hear a
Crashing noise.
It’s coming from the door!
I roll on the other side.
Still holding my stuffy
Very tight.
I lay in bed
Quietly.
I try to close my eyes.
My dog slowly comes in.
I hug my stuffy tight.
It’s a
Scary
Night.

Second Place
My Kite
Lydia Burkholder, Cumberland EMC

Once I flew my kite
Way up in the sky.
I held it so tight
Cause it was so high!

Age 9–13

First Place
Tennessee Tornado
Reagan Westbrook, Cumberland EMC

Bones crippled
Spirit strong
carry us in your whippin’ wind
And into your upward spiral,
Capture our hearts with your speed, Wilma
And steal our breath with your desire
A challenged child you were born
A roaring tornado, you transformed
Show Tennessee your battered body
And shattered past
Sweep us all to victory at very long last
rise from your feet
from the track you will grow,
A mighty woman with a talent to behold
Carry your town, your state and your nation
In your gale
And illustrious triumph will prevail
With bones and spirit, strong as a tempest

Second Place
Oh Tennessee
Campbell Craton, Duck River EMC

Oh Tennessee, Oh Tennessee,
There are so many things I’d like to see,
The highest peaks and the lowest valleys,
With the trees so high and some so low,
Along with the eagles nest,
I would say, they’re just the best,
Next, to the river we go,
The Duck is a place to show,
With the islands here and there,
The grass might go anywhere,
The music along with the birds,
One of the prettiest sounds I’ve ever heard.

Third Place
A Bubble Bath
Katelyn Cook, Cumberland EMC

I was inside doing some math
When I saw my dog needed a bath.
I used a lot of Bubble Soap,
Then told him to come but he said nope!
He looked up and said “Can’t catch me!”
Then he took off as fast as can be.
I ran around and caught the pup,
But once in the tub he floated up.
His bubble floated all around;
He was very far off of the ground.
The bubble floated till it popped;
Then he hit the ground with a big plop.
Then he got up and ran away;
This is going to be a long day!

Age 14–18

First Place
Tennessee to Me
Lilly Kapanka

From mountain tops
To forest’s deep
From raindrops
To river’s creek
From multi-colored Autumn hills
To Springs of Hunny-suckle gold
From icy Winter chills
To Summer’s sunny heat so bold
From the city’s music bones
To a Predator’s icebox
From the humble country roads
To the corn and crops
From a batman skyline
To how the Smokies feel
From waterfalls so fine
To the blues of Beale
From the downtown lights
To the town, we roam
From the cool country nights
To where we call our home

Second Place
Tennessee’s Playground
Cecelia Hatcher, Cumberland EMC

Passion flowers are the smell of the beginning of Spring and Summer and the end of winter.
The Irises and Tulip trees keep the Honeybees full and the Swallowtails busy.
And as the Raccoons play in creeks and in the shallow banks of rivers, beautiful pearls lay in wait to be discovered.
Mockingbirds sing as the Bass bite and the Catfish jump in and out of the sunlit water.
So with the final rays of sunlight, fireflies awake to dance and play with a bright sky full of stars and the cool new breeze, until the dew collects on the newly grown flowers and leaves to mark the start of a new day.

Third Place
The Depths of the Mind
Kendra Simpson, Meriwether Lewis EC

Hurling into reckless oblivion, my thoughts threaten to break away like a freight train, despite my perpetual efforts.
Can authentic control be lost with a slip of thought, or was it even real in the first place?
Too many options make for an inevitable drowning-like position.
The mind can only go so far in its seemingly eternal expanse.
Can it break, or only stay on the heart wrenching edge of its coming mortality?
Exploring the depths may prove to be unreturnably dangerous, but sometimes we throw ourselves into our own demise, and can never be certain as to how we may escape.

Age 19–22

First Place
The Attic
Ashley Freckleton, Middle Tennessee Electric

Mothballs, musty trunks, and heat
— A courtesy of August — greet
Our band of young descendants.
We touched with gentle reverence
Boxes full of memories,
Of love, and quick apologies.
Crate by crate, the canning jars
And quilts were carried down to cars.
On the stairs they nearly broke
The clock our grandpa carved from oak.
By noon they’d left, satisfied.
All that stayed was a planting guide,
An ugly vase, letterhead,
And address labeling that read
Grandpa Ron & Grandma Dee
And residence in Tennessee —
The same that now belongs to me.

Second Place
The Grave of a Good Man.
David Smith, Fayetteville Public Utilities

The weight of my body lifts off of me like tea poured out of a kettle.
I sink into this soil never again to rise.
Finally resting from all the labors of living.
Things I’ve built continue now without me,
Messages I spoke live on rippling out from my life into others.
All the works of my hand have taken life of their own.
And I am at peace with that.
I am at peace with the light that continues to buzz, and the darkness that settles.
The stillness has come.
The whispers have ceased.
My heart is in silence.

Third Place
Afraid of myself?
Mary Smith, Fayetteville Public Utilities

Fear.
Has many names.
Has many forms.
Afraid?
Yes.
Of everything.
Of my thoughts
Of myself.
Anxious?
Always.
I am anxiety.
I cannot stop it.
Paranoia.
Don’t tell anyone, please?
Stressed.
How can I not be?
Worried.
When am I not?
How did I become my own worst enemy?
When did fear become my middle name?
I am not okay.
Am I okay?
I’m fine.
I must be. I have to be.

Age 23–64

First Place
Patchwork of Life
Terry Weaver, Duck River EMC

Life was planned as a beautiful quilt…
But life seldom forms to plan.
Ofttimes we’re left with plans outgrown,
Ambitions never worn, experiences faded,
Fabrics threadbare, their origins
long forgotten.
Scraps, as it were, their purpose discarded
Yet saved, inexplicably,
Tossed in piles of crumpled maybes.
Yet through the threads of Time,
Works of art emerge,
Stitched in leisure, in sunshine,
Sudden storms, and stillness
Of dark, moonless nights.
These remnants still warm,
Still comfort, still evoke emotions,
Becoming unique patchworks,
Priceless tapestries.
More beautiful than ever planned,
They become heirlooms, legacies,
Gifted with love to generations yet to come

Second Place
The Kitchen Table
Cindy Jackson, Cumberland EMC

If the kitchen table could talk
What would it say
About dinner conversations
And passing of the plates
Hiding of the broccoli
Never ever tell
Kids doing homework
Tossing of the mail
Late night Oreo cookies
With a cold glass of milk
Holiday tablecloths
Feel like pure silk
Steaming hot coffee
Rising from a cup
Calling friends over
Just to visit and catch up
Celebrating birthdays
Sweet memories to make
Playing such an important part
Of holding up the cake
With visible scratches
And spots stained by tears
The old table is retired
What if the new table had ears

Third Place
Down the road
Arlene Byrne, Meriwether Lewis EC

Oh to you
My dear friend
Through the woods and down the road
I travel to see you
Though may your mood be grumpy
Or may you wander why I’m there
Still down the road I go
It’s for you to know
Here I am
Just to let you know someone dost tho care
So down the road
Knock knock
Are you home

Age 65 and older

First Place
A Beautiful Natural Disaster
Millie Ungren, Pickwick EC

February draped out forest
with diamonds of ice
Growling generators competed
with squawks and chirps of winter birds
weathermen screamed
“The Ice storm cometh” she came
Chunks of moonlight appeared
over snowdrifts
starlings fly through long leaf pines
never missing a beat
smoke from chimneys stretched
across a Windex sky
Breezes shoot down to whisper
In Shiloh’s battlefield
We await the progress of spring
When leaves first blur the willows
We smell the wind off the river
Blue butterflies vault and furl
In green pastures
God is a sculptor
Creating mountains and valleys
and a people like us
be thankful.

Second Place
Gardening in Zone 7
Vicki Moss, Middle Tennessee Electric

She lives in Zone 7 part of Tennessee heaven
where the daffies rise up come early spring
in her garden bower when April showers
tempt blue birds and the wood thrush to sing.
Ants skirting ‘round while peonies bow down
like they’re worshipping God up above
roses bloom profusely, clematis climbs exuberantly
While she pinches and snips sage out of love.
Hummingbirds zoom her, bumble bees buzz n’ stir
round the lavender planted eight inches deep
she belts out a glad song, sometimes a sad song
with Hank asking, “Have you ever seen a robin weep…”

Third Place
A Walk Through the Seasons
Jo Ann McKinney, Sequachee Valley EC

I took a walk in the woods today,
the leaves were a carpet of brown
I took a walk in the woods today,
the trees were budding with the promise of life
I took a walk in the woods today,
the green overhead was overwhelming
I took a walk in the woods today,
brilliant colors of red and gold made a lovely tapestry
I took a walk in the wood today,
leaves have lost their colors and their hold on life
I took a walk in the woods today
and the leaves have once again made a carpet of brown





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