A Quiet Moment by Jean Rhodes who has been a keen photographer for many years, documenting holidays, family occasions and changing physical and social environments.
A Quiet Moment
A courier’s poem, after the Jean Rhodes photograph
Between all the flashes
here and there
this and that,
is done for a time at least,
there will be for me, a quiet moment
when I can ride down to the river.
Before I dismount from my bike,
I’ll feel the soft, lush grass under my shoes,
see the trees gathered along the river,
fragile twigs reaching for the sky
that’s a dark blanket of cottony clouds.
I’ll forget all the rushing, I’ll decide
to forget all the demands, all the insincere thanks
as they snatch their packages and turn away,
forgetting I was even there as I go
to my next job, dodging the traffic all the way.
When I’m down by the river,
I’ll go down the bank, with treacherous steps,
sit amongst the trees and watch the wood-coloured ducks
bob for those silver apples that are actually the fish
along the river, feeding amongst the weeds.
When I’ve had my fill and I’m satiated
on ducks and fish and weeds,
and water with silver arrows across the surface,
I’ll lay my head on the grass,
with my legs drooping over the bank,
and my feet reaching down towards
the green, rippling water, and watch the clouds
riding on the currents of the fresh breeze.
I’ll wonder then,
if I should
go and get
the rest of my packages
deliver them now
it looks like a storm is coming.
Artist Comment:The photo ‘A quiet Moment’ captures a young man, on his bike, looking at the Parramatta River on an overcast, wintry day. Dark clouds indicate a storm is brewing. From this visual prompt Peter Cartwright has imagined a courier delivery rider taking a short break from their arduous, frequently thankless task of delivering packages. It is dangerous, tiring work weaving through traffic to meet deadlines and pausing by Parramatta River scene offers a calming respite for this worker.
The Elements of Focus
Cumulus nimbus churn across the top of the frame
Beneath—a huddle of skeletal trees, winter bare
Beyond them—the river, momentarily stilled
dangerous currents indiscernible
He stands in the foreground, leaning on his bike
her words still tumbling around in his head—
their meaning, like the river—opaque
She says he doesn’t understand anything
And it is true, he is at a loss
but right here, right now
the scene before him is peaceful—
a quiet moment
before the storm he knows
will surely come.
Artist Comment:The photo ‘A quiet Moment’ captures a young man, on his bike, looking at the Parramatta River on an overcast, wintry day. Dark clouds indicate a storm is brewing. From this visual prompt Arna Radovich has created, ‘The Elements of Focus’ [poem], which effectively voices the spirit of the photo: a young man, caught in a turbulent relationship, seeking a quiet escape in nature.
Peter Cartwright has been called Parramatta’s poet and been awarded in ZineWest. He writes about life in Western Sydney in a wide variety of styles.
Arna Radovich is a Blue Mountains writer of short fiction and hybrid poetry.