Monday, 20 October 2014

The Scream


We all have our share of disappointments and frustrations in life, sadness and tragedy too, upon which demons pounce and often never (quite) disappear. [Demons from long-ago closet years as a teenager and young man when gay relationships were illegal here in the UK haunt me still, but less so as time goes by.]

Looking back at my life and looking inwards at my inner self, I can track the scream just so far…then either it stops or I stop looking, I am never sure which. I know I will hear it again, but in the meantime, there is life to be lived and its pleasures to be enjoyed. As for the scream, it may well haunt me, but as I discovered long ago, it can’t hurt me…unless I let it.

Do you, too, hear a scream? It is silent, yet sometimes I think it is the loudest sound we will ever hear, shaking the whole body now and then as if it were no more than a leaf in a storm.  I guess the trick is to ride out the storm and find comfort in anticipation of its passing and the sun coming out again…as it will…as inevitably as human nature calling upon its greater strengths and making the best rather than the worst of...whatever. 

'The Scream' by Edvard Munch (1893); image from Wikipedia. One of several versions of the painting "The Scream" (title: Der Schrei der Natur, 'The Scream of Nature') at The National Gallery, Oslo, Norway..


THE SCREAM

Five years-old and looking for a scream
that I knew damn was there but never came
so I put it down to imagination,
too young to articulate on the surrealism
of self-destruction

Fifteen years of looking for a scream
an awakening sexuality poised to overwhelm
so I put it down to imagination,
old enough to argue with the prejudices
of convention

Twenty-one years of looking for the scream,
echoes of a poorly read poem like a bad dream,
so I put it down to imagination,
blamed home-school-work environment
and birth sign

Thirty-five years of looking for the scream,
mind in freefall, body drenched in its own sperm;
tried it out on imagination
but all I discovered there was a sense
of getting even

Fifty-five years of looking for the scream,
first heard in the womb, always hurting my ears,
put down to an imagination,
fed at the breast of one-upmanship
and religion

Sixty-five years, still looking for a scream
that’s doing my head in, barracking a spirituality
pinning hopes of salvation
in a common, credible, liberal humanity
left to the imagination

No killing it, but running the scream to earth
at the moment of death

[London, June 2010]

Copyright R. N. Taber 2010

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