Sunday, January 21, 2007

A Crazy Thing...Runner Up in New York Times Contest

Hey, here's a crazy thing I thought I’d share with you. I won 2nd place in a writing contest! Well, not an ordinary one. I won...but no prizes. You kinda don't want one for this topic. It was a contest to tell, in your own words, something about the Darfur situation...It was posted on Nicholas Kristof's blog on the NY Times, called "Your Turn." You could review the photos, columns & news pieces about Darfur and then write essays, news features, poems, letters, etc. So I wrote a poem after I looked at the columnist's photos.

I sent it in around December and I was just reading his column today and bam! There it was! No email it was a shocker to see my name there. I do believe I gasped.

I won runner-up. Kinda cool. Not sure what to make of it. Of course, I read it now and still want to tweak And every poem I write ends up sounding like I'm channeling Dr. Suess...

The winner wrote a letter to an aid worker from the point of view of a woman there who suffered and was about to die. Really poignant, painfully raw, and probably true somewhere in Darfur. The winner also happened to be an actress, Melissa Fitzgerald, who used to be on West Wing.

You have to be a TimesSelect subscriber to read the column and do read her letter, but here's my poem with the column mention, if you care to read something depressing....

"The runner-up in this contest is a poem by Carolyn Torella of Lagrangeville, N.Y., entitled “We Are Missing.”

"And here’s the runner-up from Carolyn Torella who added this note with her entry: “I looked at the photos you took there and my first reaction was, wow, that blue sky could be our blue sky here today. Those mountains look like the mountains I see every day in the Hudson Valley. They have farmers…mothers…children…so do we. But of course, we live in different worlds.”

“We Are Missing”

Those blue skies look familiar
Vapor clouds feathered white
Trees bend with the wind there
Darkness comes with night

Our mountains look the same here
Shaped by passing time
Brown slopes gently curve here
Young feet attempt the climb

Fathers worked the land there
Fed the hungry night and day
Mothers’ voices singing
Children, go out and play!

Now something there is missing
Joy has left the land
Darkness comes by day now
By janjaweed's evil hand

Fathers stand and fight there
Death comes anyway
Mothers raped at daybreak
Babies cry all day

The graves are getting deeper
The sky unfurling black
Tears upon the dry land
Flesh burns on broken back

Something there is missing
The compassionate outstretched hand
Whole choirs of voices singing
Help them, take a stand!

What is missing?
WE are missing.
The We who say we care
The We who have the power
To help you over there.


At 1:29 PM, Anonymous Derek (shoeless) said...

Congrats, Carolyn. That's pretty darn cool.

At 2:03 PM, Blogger CarolynVB said...

Thanks, Derek. It felt pretty darn cool.

Shoeless from FoxSports? If so, hey! If not, hi and welcome.

At 2:56 PM, Anonymous Derek said...

Yep, that Shoeless. I still check out a few of y'alls blogs from time to time.

Too bad about the My Boys rip-off -- I'm hooked on that show myself :)

At 8:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...



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