If I remember correctly, this is probably my very first blog post that does not feature a photograph of mine.
This post is about a photograph, a photographer, a poet, a son of Guyana’s soil – but since it’s my blog, there has to be something of mine here…
Guyana has not had many famous photographers, and when I say famous, I mean one whose name is practically a household name locally. On the international scene, we struggle, because we struggle locally to be recognized.
One local name that has always been associated with beautiful photography of Guyana’s natural beauty is Robert J. Fernandes (or as he is better known, Bobby Fernandes), his works have appeared in numerous publications, including his own books, and he has had more than a few exhibitions of his photography at the National Art Gallery at Castellani House..
I was doing some prepress work for him for his most recent book, and the photograph he used for the cover took me back to my childhood. It was a photo that I had seen in print at various stages of my life; I cannot remember the first time, but it was likely on a calendar when I was probably in primary school. I attended Saint Stanislaus’ College as my secondary school (Bobby Fernandes’ Alma Mater), and at the school’s office there hung a large print of it.
After leaving that institution I don’t recall seeing it for many years, until I attended an event at Moray House and saw a small print on the wall, I instantly recognized it, and pointed it out to Nikhil.
His most recent book is a book of poetry titled “The Voice and Vision of Robert J. Fernandes”, the first section uses many of his photographs that have also inspired poems, among these is the image I refer to with a poem titled “Riverside”.
Below is an image of the cover:
The book is available at Austin’s Book Store, it is a collection of poems that are truly Guyanese, beautifully written by one of our very own.
This is my poem that was inspired by his photo and the book:
REFLECTIONS ON RIVERSIDE
The day wanes on the river,
the waters gurgle,
and the crickets signal
the end of another day.
Kissed by the sun,
the sky glows in the west
to the distant mountains.
The trees cast shadowed reflections
on the rippled waters
as the boat glides,
In the cooling waters
the cayman prowl
and the arapaima roll
each seeking night’s shade.
An obstruction appears
some distance ahead,
remnants of a tree
from the waters,
From the photographer’s seat
a click you hear,
the trace of a smile
beneath the hat’s brim.
in later years,
that single click;
that light on film…
And then one day
as Sunset comes
it would be the face
of his Voice and Vision.
While I dabble in some poetry, I never think that my pieces are worthy of anything but a casual read, before presenting this piece, I asked the opinion and assistance of the famous singer-songwriter Dave Martins (of the Tradewinds), and he willingly gave me advice, I am very thankful for men like Bobby Fernandes and Dave Martins, who, icons and artists in their own fields, would listen to and willingly give advice to myself and others who ask…
I recently was expressive of my gratitude to my former English teacher Ms Hazel Moses, for her hard work, allowing me to be expressive without too many mistakes in my writing 🙂
She also just released a book of Poetry, for young children, which I encourage you to buy for your children, or young relatives and friends. It is titled “Playing with Words”; it is available at Austin’s Book Store as well as on Amazon.com
Today is International Literacy Day; read a book, give a book, and support our local authors.
2 thoughts on “Reflecting on Riverside”
One of the main consequences of the relative poverty of our society is the relegation of the arts (including the ability to consume those arts; literacy) to a very low rank. But I feel that it is when you are down that the arts rescue you from going out. The struggle for economic advancement should be led by the promotion of the arts.
quite true…. I’m tempted to shout “Nikhil for President” after reading that 🙂