Growing up on a farm in Oklahome, Joyce Jackson used to love to be outdoors.

It’s those memories and the inspiration provided by God that inspired her to write the Weatherford Democrat’s first place poem in our first Poetry Contest. “Wild Flowers” starts off “I will always remember when I was a child / Roaming the fields where flowers grew wild.” It describes for the reader a child’s love of playing among the flowers and waiting for their return through winter. In a couple of Sundays Jackson will be giving a devotional at her church and, as part of that, did research on wildflowers. She found there are more than 15,000 varieties of wildflowers — the diversity a reflection of all that God has made.

The winning entry was written 10 years ago, but Jackson has been writing poetry for about 30 years, she estimates.

She has a distinct memory of writing a two to three page poem after a 1989 trip to the Grand Canyon. Her older sister out-hiked the entire family and the poem chronicles their adventures. She’s also written about her days in the Navy, she said.

While her poetry subjects vary, she mainly draws inspiration from one source.

“I feel like God inspires me,” she said. “Without Him, I could not do it.”

A resident of Weatherford since 2004, Jackson said she has no plans to stop writing poetry.

For her first place award, she won a $25 gift certificate to the Wild Mushroom restaurant in Weatherford and a $25 cash prize from the Weatherford Democrat.

Bailey Hulsey, 17, is busy with coursework and after school activities at Weatherford High School. Yet, somehow his poem, written when he was in the eighth grade, still found time to be submitted (thanks, to mom!).

It was after a trip to Washington, D.C., when, on the flight back, Hulsey found himself a little bored. He went over in his mind all that they’d seen and felt most inspired by the trip to the Vietnam memorial. “This Man,” winner of the first place Youth Category poem, starts off with the lines, “This man had died, had given his life / to defend his people and country.”

“I just saw the number of people who had died in that war — it just struck me as amazing how each one of those names has a life behind it and a family behind it,” Hulsey said.

Although he doesn’t write poetry — and had not regularly written poetry at that time — Hulsey took a piece of paper from a packet a teacher had given him and penned “This Man.” The inspiration came naturally from seeing something “that important,” Hulsey said.

Now that he’s in high school, however, most of his writing is done for school papers and coursework or journal entries. While he may not have that much time to write, Hulsey has been trying to devote himself to the reading of one special book.

“I would like to read the Bible and become a master at that,” he said.

Hulsey lives in Weatherford with his mother, Wren, and has two sisters, Taran and Lauren, and his father, Michael, who lives in Azle.

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