And the Wheels Turn

As the seasons wheel, London turns too. In one short week I have gone from lying in the grass to wearing fleece. Walking over the Millennium Bridge yesterday to see the Edvard Munch Exhibit at the Tate Modern, I noted that every set of shoulders was hunched – every head bent. Only the pigeons sat on benches between St. Paul’s and the north side of the bridge.

I quite liked what Munch wrote about his most famous painting, “The Scream.”

I was out walking with two friends. The sun began to set – suddenly the sky turned blood red. I paused feeling exhaust 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 endless scream passing through nature.”

I think this is interesting because my interpretation always leaned towards thinking that the sky was a reflection (outer manifestation) of the man’s inner torment, not his reaction to the sky itself. Regardless, on 2 May, 1012, “The Scream” painted in 1921 and originally titled “The Scream of Nature”) was auctioned by Sotheby’s, New York, for $119,922,500 or a bit over 91 million pounds. I wonder how the buyer views the painting? Perhaps he just bought the painting as an investment.

Still thinking of the Paralympics and all things wheelchair, I wrote a new wheelchair poem this week to partner an older wheelchair poem that I wrote some years ago. I thought to title it “As the Wheel Turns.” And then I paused… Wasn’t that a name of an American soap opera many years ago? And I was off to visit my best friend, Google.

Complain as I do about modern technology, I have to admit that computer search engines are gifts from the gods. I rummage daily and am delighted not only in what I find specific to my search but also in the tangental surprises- many of which are totally unrelated. Consider my search for “As the Wheel Turns”:

I was not surprised when I found lyrics. But also, I found a fantasy series, and  “America’s largest independent tire dealer,” an auto repair shop in San Antonio, Texas.  “Wicca 101” led me to learning about “The Eight Wiccan Holidays,” and “Correspondence Without Attachment” invited me to subscribe to the Patheos Buddhist newsletter.

Isn’t research via computer wonderful! I particularly like “Correspondence Without Attachment.” It sounds like a dating service for ultra-shy people with serious skin diseases.

I did not discover whether “As the Wheel Turns” was, indeed, a soap opera. But no matter. Trite as it may be, I’ll use “And the Wheels Turn” as a “working title” on these companion pieces – both works in progress. The first poem is new as of this week and was triggered on seeing a wheelchair being pushed west along Euston Road.

He pushes her wheelchair; / she pushes a baby carriage. / It is a train of sorts. / The engine is in the rear. / He: tall, shaven head, black leather jacket. / She: fat, sandals and stocking cap. / Does the carriage hold a baby?  / If they are homeless, / it might hold their belongings. / Does she have cancer? / Have drugs bloated her body? / Is his shaven head a show / of solidarity? / Their story teases me. / My imagination wheels.

The next  poem was inspired by watching a couple walk the Canon City River Trail.

He is pushing her / as if she were / a much larger woman.  / White-knuckled, his hands / grip the handles of her wheelchair. / He leans into his task./  You might imagine / his pushing a much larger woman. / At the end of the path, / he turns around. / The woman  stands up. / They take turns. / She holds the chair steady. / He eases his way to the seat / but his strength fails him. / He lands with a plop. / She pushes him. / For loss of face / he bows his head. / You might imagine her / pushing a much larger man / in their wheelchair.

directed by Michael Pollack

I’ll work on these. Meanwhile, I just may try to catch the new French film, “Untouchables” directed by Michael Pollack and starring Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy. I’ve seen the promotional posters in the Tube, and I’m intrigued. Although the some of the critics have dismissed the film as “just another buddy movie,” I’m inclined to see the film because the story of an ex-con working as a carer for a quadriplegic is based on a true story.

I like true stories. The trailer looks promising. Take a look at

It is not necessary to cloak ourselves in gloom. We always expect the worst. Consider our common interpretation of “The Scream.”

About timeout2

I have lived 100 lives. I write essays, short stories, poetry, grocery lists and notes to myself. If I am ever lost, look for a paper trail, but be careful not to trip over any books that lie scattered here and there. I am a reader. I am a reader in awe of writers. When I don't live in Westcliffe, Colorado, I live in London where I am a long-time member of Word-for-Word - Crouch End.
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2 Responses to And the Wheels Turn

  1. Sherry Johns says:

    I simply cannot imagine having “The Scream” hanging in my house! That painting had haunted me since I first was aware of it, thinking that Munch was indeed, a tortured soul to have painted something so bizarre. Now that I know the real story, I feel less sorry for him. His words, “an endless scream through nature” make me wonder if nature does scream when it is violated – by pollution, desecration, and violence. Who, if any of us humans, hear or sense, the screams of nature?
    As to your wheelchair poems, ah….they are piognant and stirring. Thank you…
    Weather here – low 70s – high 80s. Just about perfect in my book. Enjoy your stay in London.

    • timeout2 says:

      Yes, reading Munch’s thoughts on seeing the sunset made me feel better too. (Like you, I think I was an adolescent when I first saw the painting – a perfect match for adolescence. You couldn’t pay me to live those years again.) Not that a screaming environment is all that much better than a screaming tortured soul (or… maybe it is even worse) but the environment is less personal so you have a bit of emotional distance.

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