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A Journal of Haibun & Tanka Prose
Bob Lucky, General Editor & Ray Rasmussen, Technical Editor
January 2020 Vol. 15 No. 4

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Amanda Bell

The New Scream

Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ is not on view when I visit Oslo, but there are other things to discover. As I set out from the Grand Hotel, the quiet streets are shrouded in snow.

chilly morning –
in front of the cathedral
the memory of flowers

Munch’s work is found throughout the city, not only in the Munch Museum, but also in the City Hall, the Aula of the University, and the workers’ canteen of the Freia chocolate factory, where a nine-panel Frieze depicts shoreline scenes of all life’s phases. I am gripped by his use of moonlight, the way he contrasts vivid colours and dark shadows.

reflected in the bay
the sinking moon –
boats sail through it

Beyond the city centre is the hilly woodland sculpture park at Ekeberg; it was here, beneath a lurid sunset, that Munch was seized by the wave of anxiety that caused him to paint ‘The Scream’. This January day, the skies are overcast. I gaze down at the fjord through shades of steely grey.

The Munch Spot –
above the silent fjord
an empty frame

Down below, oil revenue is being poured into public building works. Clinging to the handrail for support, I slide downhill and follow the line of the shore towards the Opera House.

thick cloud cover –
Carrera marble yellowing
beneath the ice

Back in the city centre, Karl Johan Street – the main boulevard – unfurls before the palace. Nearby is the spot where a US Surveillance Detection Unit was discovered in 2010.

winter in the Palace Park
a young King’s Guardsman
his black gun

One year later, seventy-seven people, most of them children, were murdered in a domestic terrorist attack. Kept in solitary confinement, the perpetrator is allegedly shuttled between prisons so as to minimise the stress on prison staff.

dusk at Spikersuppa –
The Pearl Fishers’ Duet
skaters gliding by


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