Monday, July 27, 2015

The Scream of Nature

Dr Abe V Rotor

The original German title given to the work by Munch is, Der Schrei der Natur (The Scream of Nature). The Norwegian word skrik usually is translated as scream, but is cognate with the English shriek. Occasionally, the painting also has been called, The Cry.

In his diary in an entry headed, Nice 22 January 1892, Munch described his inspiration for the image:

One evening I was walking along a path, the city was on one side and the fjord below. I felt tired and ill. I stopped and looked out over the fjord—the sun was setting, and the clouds turning blood red. I sensed a scream passing through nature; it seemed to me that I heard the scream. I painted this picture, painted the clouds as actual blood. The color shrieked. This became The Scream.

This memory was later rendered by Munch as a poem, which he hand-painted onto the frame of the 1895 pastel version of the work:
I was walking along the road with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature. (Wikipedia)

Scream of Nature

I hear nature scream from a lost eagle,
owl hooting, starving on its roost,
playful swallows thinned out of their flock,
watchful crows abandon their post.

I hear nature scream in a dying river,
brooks that laugh with the rain
no more, so with children fishing then,
rivulets in melodious strain.

I hear nature scream from the raging sea,
rising and falling on the coral reef,
the shores exploding, melting in foam,
in muffled cries of pain and grief.

I hear nature scream - oil spill!
too late the fish and birds to flee;
black death blankets the tidal zone;
fire is kind to end their agony.

I hear nature scream to the chainsaw,
trees shrieking as they are felled,
stripped to logs like bodies in Austerlitz
their stumps in Flanders Field.

I hear nature in the church praying
to save trees on Palm Sunday;
to rebuild lost Eden for all creatures,
for a Heaven here to stay. ~

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