Munch

NOTHING IS SMALL

Nothing is small, nothing is large.
We carry worlds inside us.
A drop of blood is an entire world with
its own sun and planets.
The sea is a drop of water -
a tiny part of the body.
The primeval light is everywhere.
Crystals are born and formed.
The fire of life burns
even in the hardest stone.
We do not die.
It is the world that dies.
Death is the love-making of life.
Pain is the friend of joy.


THE SEPARATION

I give her the light summer night's soft beauty.
On her I pour the splendor of the fading sun.
On her hair, on her face, on her white dress -
shining gold.
I place her in front of the pounding blue sea -
with the seashore's sinuous, snakelike lines.
Thus does she go from him, who still cannot fathom it,
but who in dreams feels her departing.
Amidst blood-red flowers he stands
in the deep blue evening shadows.
How it came about he cannot grasp.
Yet even when she has vanished across the sea he feels
fine threads embedded in his heart -
which bleeds and aches like an ever-open wound.


GRAVESTONE

It had been cold for a long time.
Then suddenly it turned very mild and spring-like.
I went up to the top of the hill
and enjoyed the soft air and the sun.
The sun warmed, yet now and again
a cool breath of wind blew -
like the air from a burial chamber.
The damp earth steamed.
It smelt of rotten leaves -
and how quiet it was around me.
Then I seemed to feel how the damp earth with those rotting leaves
fermented and was filled with life -
even the naked branches.
Soon they would sprout and come alive,
and the sun would shine upon the green leaves and the flowers,
and the wind would bend them in the sultry summer.
I felt a thrill in knowing that I
would return to this earth - this always fermenting earth.
Always to be shone upon by this loving sun - alive, alive.
I would be at one with it.
And out of my rotting corpse would grow plants and trees
and grass and plants and flowers.
And the sun would warm them,
and I would be a part of them.
And nothing would perish.
That is eternity.

-- Edvard Munch
(translated by Shari Gerber Nilsen)