Mihaela Cristescu


The old Lady turned around and showed me the way to the River: 

‘When you see the rocks, you see the river,’ she said, pointing her hand to the sky and then the land, in an oscillatory movement towards north.

My dream was to cross the watercourse and find the other side of the City, should the map and her voice help me beyond any written explanation. Somehow, since our arrival in Parramatta, I had been walking from stones to shapes, among gems and simple visions to feel the Land. There was no other indication as to how to perceive the nature of things, no flow to go with, no stream. The most extravagant omen caught me in shifts to switch my poetry around. And even now, twelve years later, I clearly remember the link between the shores: lines of rhythm and silent music growing from feet to neck, waves ending in my palms and fingers, frequency evoked in sounds.

That specific morning identified itself as a glorious Australian beginning of the day. A disintegrated noise of people rushing to their jobs in an amalgam of gestures and trajectories seized my official thoughts, letting the other part of myself to consider the fictional real world. History had nothing to do with my stroll, and the small, one-floor buildings along Church Street offered an intimate ambience completed by the shops and cafeterias. My backpack seemed empty, but I was not hungry; at that time, I only used to have one meal per day, a late lunch, it is true, as food never belonged to my dreams.

For a moment, a young boy stopped on a corner of the street counting his age in cards – the small pieces of hard paper rolling in the air while he delivered a rosary – or an adaptation, anyway. The street boy looked at me for only an instant and smiled. ‘I know you, always looking forward to becoming the River. It’s April time.’ He had guessed my unspoken question. I knew him, too. He belonged to my native self, and he spoke for my understanding: of blue and sand stone, of precise pounding the pavement by heels and cars. My mind, his words, their knowledge.

The bridge was twenty metres away. Strange eyes were searching for the camera and the rays found the perfect angle: pieces of rock arranged in order, glued images of the past, ghost-trees overlapping future memories. I was capable of seeing all of them and more. Time did not comply with distance, remote steps delivered the process of motion, and I found my body on the other side of the River.

A genuine effect of the Australian watercourse location, the day became a facsimile for the unspoken verse, one photograph of the photographer himself. The Bridge heard my words as I whispered towards the Heritage Centre:

‘Do not lose it. Do not lose it…’


Mihaela Cristescu: A place where my poetry is written, Parramatta is not only a Sydney suburb but mainly the meaning of my Australian rhythm.