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Hundreds of poets in Kentucky
Sent in verse they hoped
wasn’t yucky
There are too many, I fear,
To print them all here,
So please enjoy these few
who got lucky

I once heard a story about an English teacher who was asked whether he was a poet.

“Isn’t everybody?” he replied.

They are if the results of the Kentucky Living poetry contest mean anything. We received 962 envelopes—many containing multiple poems. Several very large, thick envelopes came in from entire elementary school classes.

Reading all those poems was a delight. Many were outstanding. All were heartfelt. They covered all kinds of subjects, but parents, children, and grandparents definitely topped the list. A lot of others wrote about God and Jesus, loving Kentucky, and reactions to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Narrowing them down to what we had room to publish was less joyful. So we didn’t really do it. We will publish 44 poems over the next three months, printing two categories a month. This month we will print poems on Seasons and from the Miscellaneous category. August will be Family & Friends and Kids, and September will be Celebrating Kentucky and Humor.

Even with that, many fine works of verse must be left out. To those poets, thank you for letting us see your work, and congratulations on having written. All of you are true artists.




CATEGORY:SEASONS

Dogwoods

Dogwoods lick the sky
with red crescent tongues,
lapping milky clouds
’til the bowl turns blue.

Dianne Meador,
Owensboro

Autumn Royalty

Summertime is clothed in greenery,
And Winter is clothed in white,
Spring is like a rainbow,
But Autumn—what a sight!

She is royalty of the seasons
As she dons her rustic robe.
She walks with regal bearing
And she is crowned in gold.

Spread about is her carpet
Of many colors on the ground.
While confetti leaves are showered,
Fall comes marching down!

Stephanie C. Baker, Eubank
South Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative

Color Me

Seasons change
And so do I
Color my change
Color the sky

Color me the colors
On winter white snow
The cloudy blue skies
A tan, graceful doe

Color me, please
The colors of spring
The flowers in bloom
A kite on a string

Color me hot
As the summer sun
The bronze tan of skin
The hot summer fun

Color me the colors
Of bright autumn leaves
The orange, red, and gold
Painted on the trees

Seasons change
And I know I will, too
Color my change
With the old and the new

Debi Huizar, Taylorsville
Salt River Electric Cooperative

New Season

Kentucky Spring, ethereal Sprite
You tread within my woods this night
Jack in the pulpit, red Trillium sweet
Dog tooth violets ’neath your feet
Your silent tryst with bud and bough
Bursts forth to keep a winter vow

Nancy Dahl, Bardstown
Salt River Electric Cooperative

A Summer Compote

one slantwise slice of gold sunshine
a double handful of dandy lion blooms
two children with purple Super-Soakers
one lawn chair—reclined
a dash or two of giggles (to taste)
thunder and lightning

mix together thoroughly, simmer with
showers and layer
with cucumber salads
and fireworks
garnish liberally with coconut oil
and fireflies
serve with love and canoe trips
will keep for a lifetime

Kathy Shelton, New Concord
West Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative

CATEGORY: MISCELLANEOUS

The Girls’ Basketball Team
at McDonald’s

When the girls’ basketball
team stops at McDonald’s, Brittany jumps,
takes the point,
Catherine, Charli, Courtney, Ellen, Kayla,
Lacy, Leslie, Lindsey, and Megan
run the floor in perfect teamwork.
The person in uniform calls
for orders—burgers pressed
on buns, a basket
dunked in oil. Charging
follows … first quarters
to last quarters.
Time out to eat.
The reach,
over the back, passing
catsup, dribbling
on fries.
The clock winds down.
Fast food, fast games, fast lives—
in the final seconds,
an apple turnover.

Loretta Martin Murrey, Glasgow
Farmers Rural Electric Cooperative

Lawyers of the Night

Hey,
They took
Everything
Away.

Joey Froehlich, Frankfort

Hi De

Say hi de life and welcome!
The plate may not be passed around
For a second helping.

Eve Bernard, Murray

Eclipse

They say
The shadow hesitates momentarily at the edge
And steps gingerly into the circle,
Cautiously tiptoeing to the center,
Pulling darkness across the sun’s face
They say
The blackness blocks the light,
Stopping the warmth for a long moment.
They say
The light extends its hand daintily,
Glittering briefly in diamond sparkles
To daze and dazzle the world
With promised love and laughter.
They say
The shadow then slides quickly
Into blue infinity
To appear again as the moon.
But I missed it all, peering through the hole in a paper.

Yvonne H. Campbell, Smiths Grove
Warren Rural Electric Cooperative

Old Baby Boomers

It’s a Dodge Caravan that I’m driving today,
But I wish it was a ’56 Chevrolet.
There’s a box of old records underneath my TV
That I went out and bought all again on CD.
I’m not trying to re-live things I’ve done.
I’m just an old baby boomer and I’m having some fun.

We used to go cruising on Saturday nights
And flirt with the girls at the traffic lights.
We tried to grow up like Ward Cleaver said,
But somehow we turned into the Simpsons instead.
We don’t want forgiveness for the things that we’ve done.
We’re just some old baby boomers out having some fun.

Our memories are tied to the songs that were hot.
The tunes we remember but the names we forgot.
We’re not trying to say that today is no good,
And we wouldn’t go back to high school if we could,
Because our jobs and our lives and our kids are all cool.
We’re just some old baby boomers out playing the fool.

Bob Stinson, Leitchfield
Farmers Rural Electric Cooperative

From under a big rock
a little worm did crawl
and praised the Lord up above
for a little bite of straw.

A magnificent bird from the forest
was intently watching the scene
and so he too praised the Lord
for his breakfast so juicy and green.

As he enjoyed his morning meal
a hunter came passing by
and an arrow found its mark
before the bird could fly.

The man picked up his trophy
and quickly started to run
he wanted all in the village below
to know this thing that he had done.

But before he could tell his story
a bear steps in the way
and he too praised the Lord up above
for his dinner on that day.

Now the moral to this little story
I hope it didn’t go by too fast
let everything that hath breath praise the Lord
for your next blessing just might be your last.

Richard L. Polley, Tollesboro
Fleming-Mason Energy Cooperative

Free Time

The sun emerges from behind the earth’s edge.
Morning is here.
This should be the best part of the day,
but I sit and wonder what to do.
Lately my days have all been so full, so heavy,
rushing by, raking away my time.
Then came today, a day unplanned.
The sun is waiting, but won’t wait long.
Morning hours move on.

Today I may just think on things,
Move slowly, but serenely through the hours.
A hot cup of cocoa to warm me inside
Read some poetry to warm me inside that.
Might call an old friend I haven’t seen in a while.
I could clean out a closet of old toys,
Clothes I haven’t worn six years or more, and
Boxes of things once important, like
Old running shoes, maps, and dust.

Work over the plans for the new garden.
I’ve been changing them for years.
Make lists of things to do or make.
Groceries to buy,
Cards I should send, bills to pay.
Lists should have a serious side, so I should include
things I am grateful for,
places I keep important papers, and
Significant people in my life.

My day could be filled with righteous
acts.
Deeds applauded by the world
Give and share, help someone else
And I would be grateful that I could.

Maybe these are the hours of
contemplation
I have searched for these many years.
A time to think, separate and inspect bits
of conversation heard during rushed and
clamorous times.
Study each word, gesture, and idea for
definition
Make decisions about life and what to
cook for supper.
What to discard or to treasure.
Today I have free time, a rare gift
indeed.
So I make plans for another day, and
pray that I’ll have one.

My cocoa is cooling.
Time to begin.
The sun did not wait for me.

Angela Jenkins, Elizabethtown
Nolin Rural Electric Cooperative

My Brother, My Soldier

The light of the morning shines brightly on me,
My thoughts wander back to my childhood memories.
I can see my brother in the shade of some trees,
Standing close and smiling down at me.
I was a little girl of eight with my brother so handsome and tall,
All my little friends loved him,
I was the envy of them all.
We would walk together kicking at the leaves,
In an orchard where my grandfather planted apple trees.
All different colors, reds, green, and gold,
To my heart these memories I hold.

Picking up the mail was my job every day,
A letter for my brother, I wondered what it would say.
A brown envelope that became speckled with rain,
As I ran to the porch and handed it to him.
I watched his smile fade away into a frown as he read
I saw tears come into his eyes,
He grabbed me and held me close,
I didn’t know why.
I didn’t know what War was then,
I didn’t know I would never see him again.
He said he was going away to a place so far,
Why did they have to have him in this Vietnam War?

The day that he left is etched forever in my mind
It haunts me, every day and every night.
In the light of the morning, under a clear blue sky,
Along with our Mother and Father we said Goodbye.
Silhouetted in the sun, his blond hair shining,
His big strong arms holding me, as I stood there crying.

Long years and days have passed by,
In my heart his memory is still alive.
I walk alone now, under the apple trees,
Thinking of my brother as the leaves turn gold and green.
We never knew what happened to him,
Missing in Action was all they would say,
I can’t help but wonder … is he alive … somewhere … somehow … today.

H. Johnson, Corbin
Jackson Energy Cooperative

Better Than Before

I know you are out there,
You’ve shown your face to me.
A form of hate and violence,
With a doomed, black destiny.

Your purpose of death for glory,
I do not understand.
Was sent to put the fear into,
The hearts of loving man.

Destruction is your idol,
Violence is your praise.
But truth will be your judgment,
And freedom knows the way.

A lesson we thought we’d never teach,
To our children or ourselves.
Who thought the enemy could reach,
Where the heart of our nation dwells.

But from those ashes rose a sound,
Heard around the world.
The chorus of prayers and love united,
As the nation’s flag unfurls.

You thrive on grief and terror,
Destruction brings a smile.
I’ll stand upon our nation’s rubble,
Saluting “Glory” all the while.

Because of you I awoke,
A spirit deep inside.
That holds my head and flag above,
The heroes who all died.

I’ve seen a transformation,
In the people of this land.
Of brotherhood and giving,
Uplifted hearts and hands.

We show our love more freely,
Our embraces will linger more.
Our nation is now a family,
Better than … before

Tracy M. Dunn, Lexington
Blue Grass Energy Cooperative

My Debated Retirement

I debated about retiring
But a thought just came in my head
If I don’t enjoy it while I’m living
How can I enjoy it when I’m dead

So I joined the Senior Citizens
And go to it every day
I’m now enjoying retirement
The Senior Citizens way

They tell stories of long ago
I laugh until I lose my breath
I’m thinking more now about living
And less of being closer to death

Melba Goodwin, Junction City
Inter-County Energy Cooperative

Granny

Granny thinks there aren’t as many
Stars as there used to be.
She grew up in the mountains
Long before rural electricity.
How black must have been a moonless night
A hundred miles from electric light,
Too dark to know a familiar place
Or see your hand in front of your face,
But what a show there was to see
As you gazed up into eternity.
She thinks they’ve fallen—the stars, I mean.
I try to say they can’t be seen
Beyond the glare of lights from town.
She thinks the stars have fallen down,
One star for every man who’s died.
From wars or fighting. I have tried to say
That stars don’t fall, they’re fixed;
But she has seen them, and the Scriptures say
Their falling marks the end
Of time. I think of city friends,
Wrapped up in domes of yellow light,
Who’ve never seen a star-filled night,
Their masked, fear-dimmed eternity
Mourned by astronomers, and Granny, and me

Sharon Ruth Gill, Murray
West Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative

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