The Scream

I like to compose poetry in response to paintings sometimes. This is a powerful image by Edvard Munch, the Norwegian expressionist painter. Here’s the poem:

The Scream
(after the painting by Edvard Munch)

I’m screaming,
I’m screaming,The Scream
as the wind’s slick, brutal blade
cleaves me open to the bone,
as the sunset’s blood
drips and spreads
and stains my pale days.
I cover my ears
to shut out
the hammering silence
of the dazzling gypsy girl’s
failure
to bring warmth and succour,
to distract
from the line of stones
at the shore’s desolate edge;
and the scream
skims and bounces,
skims and bounces
across the cold fjord’s
open maw
and spends itself
in its unplumbable depths.

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About jadedmountain

I am a poet, living a rural life in south-west Wales. The purpose of this blog is to publicise my poetry.
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4 Responses to The Scream

  1. Anne Marie Butler says:

    Saw another version of this in a gallery in Norway. Munch had written :
    ‘ could only have been painted by a madman ‘ I don’t about this, but fears of insanity
    probably lurk in all our ‘ unplumbable depths ‘ . Like this poem, particularly the skimming stone
    imagery.

    Like

    • Thanks, Annie. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head- very perceptively seeing the theme of the poem. The painting says so much in that single image, which I guess is what art should do. Leonora Carrington said, ‘There are things that are not sayable. That’s why we have art.’

      Like

      • Anne Marie Butler says:

        Leonora Carrington hits the spot. I am currently looking at her work again and have posted a rather irreverent poem about one of her paintings on my blog ,
        things that ‘are sayable’ fortunately, in this day and age.
        Juxtaposing two different minds here, Munch the melancholy impressionsist , Carrington the flamboyant surrealist, both express that which could not or dare not be spoken about
        in their time.
        It’s wonderous trying to get inside a painting !

        Like

  2. When Carrington refers to things that are ‘not sayable’, I was interpreting that to mean ‘unable to be expressed in words’, ie. that there are no words sometimes to communicate feelings, pain, even happiness, perhaps. I suspect you are interpreting her words slightly differently, though you are equally likely to be ‘reading’ her correctly. Munch’s image communicates something without words very powerfully. Sometimes words are very inadequate. Language has its limitations, and a poem can only strive towards communicating the ‘unsayable’.

    Like

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