Lean back,
let the early sun wash my face…
in an hour it will burn.
Hair lifts in the whispering breeze
that will settle and die as the sun
But now,
drowsiness settles my mind with
remnants of the night.
The ebb and flow of traffic…
a gentle riverboat.
Cars, motorbikes, cycles, cyclos
all weaving in and out,
in and out,
dodging rocks
joining rapids:
ultimate faith in Buddha.
A perfectly choreographed harmony,
like the reeds of the Tonlé Sap
dancing below the surface,
weaving through the river,
never disturbing the silky flow,
twisting, rippling,
Rocking seat lulls me,
eyes closing to the glare,
sounds drifting over.


More about this poem
A cyclo /siĸləʊ/ is a Cambodian bicycle rickshaw. There is a seat on the front and a high bicycle seat on the back from which a man peddles people to their destination. The top photograph shows a cyclo driver in Phnom Penh and is from Susanne Carvin’s Southeast Asia Journal. The lower picture was taken on Street 300 (BKK III) in Phnom Penh outside our house. Whole families would squeeze onto one cyclo, even sitting on the top of the backrest.
The poem uses the metaphor of the river and boat travel to try to capture the feeling of perfect harmony with the other traffic and the impression of travel being like a carefully choreographed dance.
© Ammie-oy 2010


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