A SOLITARY LIFE
The angels of fear, sorrow and death
stood by my side since the day I was born.
This is the house that Munch bought.
Its windows face the Oslo fjord,
whose waters quiver with midsummer’s
otherworldly midnight light.
As you see, a single bed – the linen
scrupulously white, betokening the house-
keeper’s sense of rectitude and pride.
This is the bed in which Munch died,
conscious, as he’d prophesied –
illuminer of inner life, truth-seeker
Shadow of a bird on snow –
a raven: childhood tales of Poe.
‘THE GIRLS ON THE BRIDGE’
From my rotting body
flowers shall grow
and I am in them
and that is eternity.
The midnight sun is nudging the horizon.
Three young women stand together,
gazing down into the water’s
wavering reflection of that moon-like orb,
the Nordic sun, and also a dark, brooding
mass, inchoate on the farther shore.
All is still: no sound of birds,
no breeze disturb the gravitas.
The girls have paused in the hiatus
spanning disparate centuries –
the one in red flanked by her friends
or sisters, wearing white and green,
evoking vernal aureoles
of new-leafed apple trees.
Yesterday is virginal in white:
baptism and first Communion; bride.
Today is the embodiment of passionate
desire for life, arrayed in red – a poppy,
an anemone; the heart, the blood,
the troth of lovers, marriage bed,
the birthing of a child;
the crimson haemorrhage from ailing lungs –
first the mother who succumbed;
then the sister who died young,
her silent, stricken siblings at her side.
Tomorrow, yet to be inscribed,
is like midsummer’s evening skies –
celestial cerulean, forget-me-not.
All three girls upon the bridge
gaze down upon the water’s face
as if to scry what might await them
on the other side.
Note: After the painting, ‘The Girls on the Bridge’ (1901) by Edvard Munch https://www.nasjonalmuseet.no/en/collection/object/NG.M.00844