Thursday 3 March 2016

'The scream' by Thomas Tidholm

The scream

       All that’s alive has a scream. All that’s alive has a song
too. All that’s alive has a scream.
       All that’s alive has a scream, but it’s not certain that
it’s audible. In the cold spring it lies along the field like a
needle through everything. Then one sees it. And in summer out
in the open there can be screams in the grass, for there’s something
that just can’t stand it.
       Humans have screams.
       When a human allows her scream to be heard, one wonders: Where
did that scream come from? Where did she get it from? Just now she was
standing here brushing her hair. It didn’t look as if she was
thinking of screaming. It looked as if she was thinking of going out and
buying some food or flowers.
       But a scream came out.
       It was a very old scream.
       No one had heard it before. Others who had lived with her
for decades had never heard this scream before. It forced its way
out of her throat like a rusty harpoon. It smashed
a trinket with two cherubs and disappeared through
the open window.
       Afterwards she sat down at the table and ate fruit yoghurt.
She seemed spent but not subdued. Had she actually
heard it?
       We didn’t want to ask. We looked at each other in amazement but
couldn’t get ourselves to ask.

1 comment:

John Irons said...

Having had the problem of translating the non-person sin/sitt from Swedish to English - and from Danish and Norwegian too - i have noted that in the world of academe, for presumably feminist reasons, when an individual does something, it is 'she' and 'her' that are used - which to me is just as sexist as the earlier use of 'he/his'. Swedish though has a grammatical reason for using 'she' in this poem - the word 'människa' is feminine in gender, so all pronouns referring back to her (sic!) are also feminine. In Danish and Norwegian the word 'menneske' is neutral. but to use 'it' in this poem, which I tried, ties you up in knots, so I have plumped for 'she/her'. Ainsi soit-il (or maybe 'elle'?)