Cargoes to the Scream: Five more poems

We’ve enjoyed some fascinating choices of poems, and its been great to read the reasons for the choice. Our selections continue. Here is the choice of Fliss:

Number 1: Cargoes, by John Masefield. I thoroughly enjoyed learning this poem by heart at prep school and reciting it from behind my old wooden desk in the classroom…although I find the line ‘salt-caked smoke stack’ a bit more tricky than I did then! I love the thought, the vivid descriptions, and the highly skillful use of word sounds and connotations. It is a little masterpiece of a poem.

owlandpussy1The second of my poems The Owl and The Pussycat – a nonsense poem by Edward Lear first published during 1871. Another one that I learnt at school but I have also enjoyed reading it as a teacher to my children and having fun discussing the various idiosyncrasies such as the ‘runcible’ spoon.

My third poem in the challenge is a short extract from Walden or Life in the Woods, (1854) by Henry David Thoreau, is a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings. It details Thoreau’s experiences over the course of two years, two months, and two days in a cabin he built near Walden Pond, near Concord, Massachusetts.

Obviously not technically a poem, more a quote, but was made into a poem for me by a very dear friend who wrote a ‘second verse’ in the style of…see what you think 🙂

If a man does not keep pace with his companions,
perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.
Let him step to the music he hears –
however measured or far away.


If that same man one day turns his head and calls for a friend –
feel free to join him.
For this man will find true happiness with the one companion who,
with the strength of her own music, and at her own pace,
can give direction to his lonely wandering.

The fourth of my poems is one I came across whilst studying ‘A’ level French at school. Le Doremur du Val by Arthur Rimbaud. This poem was written by the 16-year old Rimbaud when France was at war with Prussia, and Rimbaud was frequently running away from home and travelling by foot. It is therefore possible that the scene described in the poem is a real scene.

And so to my 5th and final poem …a tricky one as it is the last and there are so  many that I would have like to include.

The_ScreamHowever, it is going to be The Scream by Edvard Munch. The Scream is the popular name given to each of four versions of a composition, by Edvard Munch between 1893 and 1910. Munch gave the title The Scream of Nature to these works, all of which show a figure with an agonized expression against a landscape with a tumultuous orange sky.

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.

About stchrysostoms

St Chrysostom’s is an Anglican (Church of England) parish church in Manchester. We’re an inclusive, diverse and welcoming faith community where people of differing backgrounds make friends. Find our Facebook group at
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