Poetry – Rio


In Rio,

In summer,

Under the clouds.

As the redeemer remains shrouded

In thick fog

And even sugar loaf

Is stark and grey –

It pauses.


A flock of frigate birds

Soar in spirals

Seeking the thermals

While sheerwaters skim the waves.

Then the sun,

And colour.



The beaches to yellow

The hills to green

And brings the favelas to life.

Rio rocks

To the drumbeat of samba,

The hip feel of carnival,

The lightness of being,

The gaiety of vitality,

And beckons with adventure.



To wander the streets of Rio in the rain as the heavy clouds create dreariness and humidity, is a leaden experience that saps the soul. Sugar loaf and Copacavada are invisible enwrapped in cloud. ‘Christ the Redeemer’ appears for a minute or two and is then enveloped.

But the clouds disperse and the sun bursts through. Immediately the colours spring out and spirits rise. People are out in the streets preparing for carnival. The favelas have colour and are no longer slums. Sugar loaf and Copacavada are picturesque monuments of nature looking down on the thriving beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana.

The crowds are out, beaches pack with football, volleyball and bronzed bodies. There is laughter, swagger and the pervading essence of samba.

A night, when the heat cools, the bars are filled with noise, bustle and beer – It jives. Rio, like most cities, is a place of contrast. Beauty and garbage sit side by side. There are luxury apartments overlooking the beaches and mountains, and slums thrown up in shanty towns on hillsides of mud. But when the sun comes out and the colours kick in you can feel the energy. It is the carnival city.

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