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Silent Anthem by Rhoufi
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He turns slowly and picks his way between the rails to the footbridge where the girl had fallen. Her discarded running shoes are still lying between the sleepers. He gathers them up and turns them over and over in his hands. Slowly and carefully he ties the laces together and throws the shoes, spinning like a bolas, into the overhead wires. They snare one of the lines, swing back and forth, and rock slowly to rest, one slightly higher than the other.

In the early morning light, the pair of running shoes hangs from the wires in full view of commuters flocking to the city. Lost in thought and peering through grimy carriage windows, few notice this semaphore climbing to the heavens, casting a silent anthem against the metallic sky.

Tags

homelessness, signal, tribute, death, honour

To reveal art and conceal the artist,
is art’s aim.

Oscar Wilde – “The Picture of Dorian Gray”

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Comments

  • Rhoufi
    Rhoufialmost 3 years ago

  • Later, in Spring, he was at that same station after his aged VW Beetle let him down once more. His thoughts soon led him to the girl, or the crumpled body of what was no more than a homeless child. He turned to face the dangling footwear and noticed a small swallow, darting about nearby, catching tiny insects, and returning with them over and over again, to the shoe closest to the ground. This memorial to her tragic death occurred to him no more, until the day the Beetle expired altogether, and he was dropped off at the station by his housemate – looking up he noticed tiny balls of feathers emerging from the dangling Reebok, screeching at their parents to alleviate their hunger pains. Funny how it works, swallows had always been the birds she adored most.
       
    A very generous epilogue, written by geof and left below in this comment

    – Rhoufi


  •  
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    Lost shoes would like to meet with like minded lost sneekers or trainers, preferably in Paris, with the view to hanging out together in the City of Light
    All applications welcome via Rhoufi’s BMail
     

    When they didn’t stop dancing at midnight, their coach disappeared, and so did they… by 1morephoto

    – Rhoufi

  • Catherine Berger
    Catherine Bergeralmost 3 years ago

    Lovely words paired with the image … was it a whisper? :-)

  • A very quiet, sad whisper, but it persisted, so I could not ignore it. Thanks Cathy ;-))))

    – Rhoufi

  • Karen E Camilleri
    Karen E Camillerialmost 3 years ago

    I often see a whole bunch of these together down my neck of the woods, a lonely site indeed, great write too!!

  • Thank you Kay. I think the meaning has been lost a bit in this country – it’s turned into a bit of a lark and a fad. Thank you for reading and commenting.

    – Rhoufi

  • JanT
    JanTalmost 3 years ago

    Poignant shot and words. A compelling title, too.

    I don’t see this up here as often as we did in the Lower 48.

  • Now you had me madly Googling the Lower 48 to find out what it meant. I immediately thought some street argot for a location in NYC (like "the downhill 80’s, love that term), but no, simpler than that – the 48 contiguous United States between Canada and Mexico. Nice day in school for us both today, eh? I came across this old photo (now deceased Canon Powershot 75) yesterday and felt it deserved some words to make it sing again. Thanks Jan.

    – Rhoufi

  • Di-Trying
    Di-Tryingalmost 3 years ago

    Haha!! A classic scene out from where I come from (western suburbs). Good one Rhoufi, and lovely story too!!! :))

  • The shoes have lost their meaning I think – now their worse than crows sitting on wires. Anyway good excuse for a little story ;-) Thank you. How are you, BTW? Are you going to join us in the Exhibition? BMail me maybe :-))

    – Rhoufi

  • geof
    geofalmost 3 years ago

    Later, in Spring, he was at that same station after his aged VW Beetle let him down once more. His thoughts soon led him to the girl, or the crumpled body of what was no more than a homeless child. He turned to face the dangling footwear and noticed a small swallow, darting about nearby, catching tiny insects, and returning with them over and over again, to the shoe closest to the ground. This memorial to her tragic death occurred to him no more, until the day the Beetle expired altogether, and he was dropped off at the station by his housemate – looking up he noticed tiny balls of feathers emerging from the dangling Reebok, screeching at their parents to alleviate their hunger pains.
    Funny how it works, Swallows had always been the birds she adored most.

  • Well you’ve made my day Geof :-))

    There is no greater compliment anyone can pay me than to be inspired by a small piece of my work and to take it further with their own imagination – thank you for creating and leaving this more hopeful epilogue to my somewhat grim story. You could not have known this, but it meshes with the theme of my original story “Silent Anthem” perfectly. The small paragraph above is just the end of a 2,800 word short story. Your words could easily have been added as a last paragraph to that story and it would have seemed entirely appropriate.

    Thank you so much for adding more meaning and poignancy to my photo and little story. I hope you don’t mind, but I will copy and paste your sweet addition to the top of the comments so it can be read straight after my last paragraph.

    Many thanks

    – Rhoufi

  • geof
    geofalmost 3 years ago

    thank you very much for this honour, Rhoufi. I think these few sentences came from my current observation of the life cycle, based on the illness of a distant cousin with lung cancer, and the creation of her first child by my daughter who is 5 months pregnant. You’re right about photos needing words to enrich them.

  • So much of what we write comes from our observations filtered by the sensibilities that have stayed with us over the years. Many people do it using direct Journal entries in the first person, others by reflective poetry in the 2nd person. I love the dramatic story form, either short or long fiction and now the use of photography. Some images can stand alone their meaning is so clear, others need a title (I prefer a title always) and others lend themselves to a short story. This habit I have developed of putting photos with stories and writing stories to fit with photos, has become a real joy for some reason. For me, when an image (mine or someone else’s) works in concert with a story it becomes a wonderful partnership – they play together in my imagination, and hopefully the reader/viewer enjoys watching the game. That you chose to add your words to my page was the honour, but I am pleased I you felt it returned.

    – Rhoufi

  • Clo Sed
    Clo Sedalmost 3 years ago

    such a sweet memory to me….
    would you mind adding it as a comment to my lost shoes ?
    here-

    merci !

  • Absolutely Madame! No greater compliment that to have You ask me to add my photo to your page. So pleased. I’ll do it now. Merci Magali, merci :-))

    – Rhoufi

  • Sassafras
    Sassafrasalmost 2 years ago

    oh, dear….

    these stories, the figurative as well as the literal are poignant as could be.

    Ciao,
    sass

  • Hi Sass,
    you pop up everywhere unexpected but always welcome. This little exchange of stories was such a joy and poignant. For there are more parts to this story on RB than you might imagine. Out of Sight Out of Mind is in fact the start of the story for which this short paragraph is the end. The bit in the middle is missing – something for you to imagine. Thank you daor Sass, for your ever present regard.

    – Rhoufi

  • And guess what? “Out of Sight Out of Mind” is where it all started – “at the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time” (old T.S.). Are we chasing out tails ma’am?

    – Rhoufi

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