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Presenting the Poetry
Contest—Part II
With poems about Family
and Friends for you,
And writing by children
12 and fewer years new.
Last month you’ll recall it was
Seasons and
Miscellaneous.
We’re sorry our printing of
these can’t be
instantaneous—
But next month Humor and
Celebrating Kentucky
will run simultaneous.

—Paul Wesslund

CATEGORY: FAMILY AND FRIENDS

The Photograph

Angry, I took aim at my mother and the
shutter clicked. I’ll show her how she
looks, out in the snow at ten below
feeding those chickens that she shouldn’t
have anyway
in that old worn-out red-checked coat
with her head tied up in a scarf.

Probably the neighbors think that she
has to wear clothes like that because she
doesn’t have anything better
and that we do not care
if she falls and breaks a leg.

Photographs in hand, I look. She is about
the seventh one down.
Triumphantly, I hold it within bifocal range.
There she stands

snow-covered trees all around her
by the porch of the long unused O&K Railroad
Depot.
Behind her is the old red truck she bought from
someone for $800.00.
There she stands

dark, straight, and statuesque with a form
that could be thirty-five or forty years old,
the fringes of her scarf blowing in the wind,
her jacket picking up the red of the truck,
holding a bucket of corn for the shiny
little black and red and white and gold-
speckled hens and the plumed rooster.
I will swear to you
I can even see the rosy glow on those cheeks
and that face …

I will have to have this blown up to show
my mother how beautiful she is.

Carolyn Jo Lacy, Malone
Licking Valley Rural Electric Cooperative

Waiting for the candy to cool
For my mother and grandmother, Grace Evelyn
Bucker Rolph and Roxie Buckler

Years ago,
when milk was thick, fresh from a cow
and cream was used for baking,
the aunts would come to our house.

They brought with them the aromas
of flesh scrubbed clean with homemade soap,
corn bread baked for families of nine and ten,
and the sweetness of mother’s milk.

They came to make candy.
Hours would pass as our table filled
with trays of fudge, divinity, bourbon balls,
and something rolled in crushed black walnuts
whose name eludes me in my winter years.

Years ago, when childhood belonged to me,
I tugged at the skirts of these women, asking,
“Is the candy cool enough to eat?
Is the candy cool enough to eat?”

They’d smack at us children with dishtowels and
shoo us out the door, rolling and stirring diligently
until daylight faded.
Sleep stole from me the tastes
of peanut butter fudge, and something rolled in
crushed black walnuts
still warm to the tongue.

Somehow, childhood knew that the candy
would taste different when morning lit the
homestead,
and frost had settled everywhere
glazing each blade of grass with powdered sugar.

Warmth from the East was powerful, yes!
But it could not make the fudge soft again,
It could not turn crushed black walnuts sweaty.
It could not fill the spaces left empty
when the aunts went home
to let the candy cool.

Suzanne Rolph-McFalls, Hebron
Owen Electric Cooperative

Momma’s Cedar Chest

I opened Momma’s cedar chest, to see the treasures there within
I knew it would bring remembrance, of memories back again
There were tiny handmade booties, for a baby’s tiny feet
These are the things that make remembering so sweet
Photographs so old, they were cracked now from age
Poems in precious writing, in a book with dog-eared page
Postcards of a by-gone era, of another place and time
There also is a quilt, pieced by Momma’s hand so fine
A lacey wedding dress, awaiting a future day
When again down the aisle, another wedding vow to say
A china doll with no hair, someone had once loved and hugged
Down in the corner, I found Poppa’s favorite shaving mug
A baby bonnet with dainty flowers, embroidered with so much care
A tiny matchbox saved, with a lock of that baby’s hair
An old cameo locket, with a crumpled broken chain
Engraved on the back was my mother’s sweet name
There were delicate little hankies, with frayed and tattered lace
I knew somewhere back in time, each had earned their place
There’s a piece of red string, with an old key attached to it
I wondered to whom it belonged, and what did it fit
As I sat and touched each treasure, this time to me was best
I knew there was cherished love, in Momma’s cedar chest

Joan Reynolds, Hawesville
Kenergy cooperative

Boys

Young modern Davy Crockett
his pants caught in the sprocket
of his bike.
Takes the snagging thing apart
and with oil for a start
fixes it.
Then with hatchet in belt loop
and with helpful brother’s scoop
on where to find green cane
they trudge on down the lane
for a bundle.
With made cane arrows and bows
they are hunting pesky crows
who pluck up garden seedlings
and fly off with shining things
far too often.
But on the way, distracted,
the brothers re-enacted
scenes of diving, shooting jets,
scattering frightened pets
that had followed.
And so they romp and fight
from break of day ’til night
those feisty country brothers.

Marie Combs, Crofton
Pennyrile Electric Cooperative

Family Reunion

Going there was not my choice
But, I decided I should hush my voice.
Oh, I knew they were all really nice folks …
(Some were even known for telling jokes!)
They were not strangers to me,
They just didn’t feel like my family.
I looked around for some kind of an excuse—
Just any one that I could use.
But, my husband was off of work today
And the twins really wanted to go and play.
So, I begrudgingly started my preparations
While my mind filled with dire expectations.

I packed potato salad, beans and ham
(Nothing much—at least it wasn’t Spam!)
I guess I was getting ready way too slow,
For my husband impatiently called,
“Come on! It’s time to go!”
In one unbroken move,
He plucked the baby off the floor
And ushered the boys out the door.
I knew I was stalling … couldn’t someone get sick?
Just for a couple of hours? (That would do the trick!)
I was very inclined to say, “Woe is me,”
But, the car horn interrupted my reverie.

Well, of course, we were the last to arrive,
But everyone grinned and said we were just in time.
Every lawn chair held one or two occupants
(There were so many babies, cousins, uncles, and aunts!)
I could not begin to remember all their names,
But I nodded and smiled, just the same.
The twins ran off to play with their cousins
(How many? I quit counting kids, after I saw two dozen.)
My husband knew most everyone,
And I could see his reminiscing had begun.
Some stories were interesting, some mundane,
But I smiled and I laughed until I felt drained.

The baby was sleeping in Grandmother’s arms
So, I decided to explore and look around the farm.
I happened, by accident, upon Billy’s great-granddad
And after talking with him, I was glad that I had.
He showed me a chair, made me feel right at ease …
He talked of his life under this very tree.
I laughed at his jokes and cried when he cried …
He was telling me stories of life with his bride.
This family’s history became part of me
And I was happy and comfortable in this family.
Soon the shadows were falling and time slipped away …
But, I look forward to coming … next reunion day!

Susan Elaine Collins, Jamestown
South Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative

Camelot

Once upon a time
three children played
in a country yard.
Twin girls
older by four years,
were this playground’s lords
or ladies if you will.
A tree house was their castle
little brother was the foe.
One day, as he stormed the gates,
he fell and hurt his knee,
an injured little brother.

The darling princesses
laid hands on him daintily,
and helped him up the stairs.
Earnestly they consoled him
to stop the flood of tears.
At noon they asked if they could dine
within the castle’s halls.
All through the day they stayed
up in the fortress tower.
When evening came and mother called,
they helped him down the ladder.
As mother saw the limping boy
stern questioning brought out,
he had scaled the heights of Camelot,
and the princesses had thrown him out.

James B. Peters, Bowling Green
Warren Rural Electric Cooperative

The Coat Hanger Waltz
In memory of Shelby L. Taulbee, 1953-1998

Alone,
Lonely without you.
So empty inside,
Aching broken heart.
I stand in the closet with my arms
Wrapped around your Sunday suit coat.
I lay my head on the shoulder,
Longing to be close to you.
The scents of cologne and tobacco have faded.
The coat hanger swivels and I dance
A lonely Waltz
My love for you goes on
Although I am
Alone.

Cynthia K. Taulbee, Bowling Green

CATEGORY: POEMS BY CHILDREN

Me

My hair is tumbleweeds blowing
in the wind
My eyes are brown dust storms
My family is crazy like wild horses
My Heart holds joy
I live in a cactus soaking
Up water and eating dust

Courtney Atwell, age 11
Farmers Rural Electric Cooperative

A Day With the Trees

I look at the trees
and then suddenly,
they seem to be looking
right back at me

They smile and say,
“Hello, how are you?”
And I curtsey and say,
“Well, how do you do?”

They give me an apple,
a pear, and a peach,
because of my shortness
I just couldn’t reach

I’m glad that I spent
a nice day with the trees
maybe tomorrow,
I’ll stay with the bees

Rachel Hopkins, age 12

Snowfall

Snow everywhere
Tiny crystals
That capture light
No more green grass to mow
No more leaves to rake and
Best of all
No school

Walking through
The silent forest
To find a few acorns
On the ground

I set to work
Shoes first, carrot,
Hat, scarf, eyes and mouth
Acorns for eyes and mouth

Just about time to go in
The snowman whispered
“Where are you going?”

Collin Brady, age 10
Inter-County Energy

Horses

Strong and graceful
Free and untamed,
They run fast and wild.
Manes blowing in the breeze,
Legs floating off the ground,
When the colors of the earth
meet the strength of the wind.
I think that is how horses began.

Chelsea Leigh Lawson, age 10
Clark Energy Cooperative

I Wonder!

Mom
I wonder what is
Around me at night

Twinkling in
The sky
Right before I go to bed,

Mom
Can you tell me what is around me
No you’re too young to understand she says,

I wait, wait, and wait,

Finally
Five years old
I ask again
And she said
They are stars.

Sydney Ruth, age 9

The Equestrian

She likes to ride more than to run
She’ll trot all day beneath the sun
From morn ’til night
She’s out of sight
Until the last blink of light
She decorates her hair with hay
Her laugh sounds just like a neigh
She spends much time just cleaning tack
’Til it becomes her most famous knack
She’ll trot all day beneath the sun
This girl who rides more than she runs

Kaitlyn Rawlings, age 12
Owen Electric Cooperative

Happiness is Reading

Happiness is discovering colorful pictures in the books
From the easy fiction section in the library.
(My favorites are the ones with red, green, blue,
white, and scarlet red.)
Discovering long paragraphs and hard-to-sound-out words.
Happiness is listening to the rubbery noise
when I run my finger
through the middle of the surface of a book’s cover.
Putting ear to the pleasing sound of crackling pages
as I turn them.
Happiness is sampling new jokes from a joke book
that make listeners go nuts.
Tasting fettuccine Alfredo while my nose is in a book
(which isn’t actually a good idea. Don’t try this at home, kids!)
Happiness is smelling the bent spine of a book—
some are new and smell like baby lotion,
but some are old and smell like a piece of clothing
from our grandma.
Happiness is taking in the feeling of intelligence
because I read something new.
The warm feeling in my
heart while reading a story about a special puppy.
Happiness is …

Mary Grayson Batts, age 8
Warren Rural Electric Cooperative

The Stage

Everyone seems to have a passion
And I guess it’s just my fashion
To love this thing I do.

One who enjoys being another
Storming for the thoughts of others
Making them exist to all.

Bring a character to life!!!
Your head explodes with ideas
How do they think?
How do they feel?
That is exactly
How it is
When you are someone else.

For a day
My favorite way to play
Is on the stage.

Erika Garland, age 11
Cumberland Valley Rural Electric Cooperative

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