Double Exposure

Meditation on Summer Day from Edvard Munch’s Linde Frieze


Munch, commissioned to paint

a sweet seascape—sunny

Asgardstrand—to please

the sensibilities of children:

rolling gentle horizons,

measured sweep of kindly sea,

gleaming white triangulations

of brilliant sails, and certainly, no

offensive human actors to clutter up

the scenery—“no lovers kissing…

children know nothing of such things.”


Did the offended artist know

he superimposed a scrim over holiday

and fancy, shattering serenity?

The accidental couple, spectral shapes

seeping through the gouache

of the artist’s eye,

transparent lover binding

his black-eyed bride

to the vertical mast of pine,

its flap of green sails futile

across the windless plane.

Invasive in one corner,

impasto oval blond,

ingenuous, eyeless witness

to predator and purple anguish.


Realities vacillate: beside

beach, sun, sea, and sails,

a cone of faceless girls,

black back of a blank man’s head,

intrusive clutch, or worse,

dark intimacies. The artless veneer

of image defies the eye: which

is surface, which substance?

Palimpsest or leakage?



Meditation on Edvard Munch’s Madonna


Madonna of the red halo:

white moon shadows glaze her face,

eyes closed against dark;

lips, crimson as fruit,

sealed against desire;

arms fading into umber haze.


Eve to apple, hallowed fire:

eat of me: ripe woman body,

blood, breasts that suckle

a wolfish world, cryptic

smile barring sin.



apple white of ancient moonlight,

arms fastened to a tree,

dogwood, apple, rose, red gall,

pierced, openings

close on intimacy.


Mouths choke on repast,

lips on words:

It is consummated.

Fruit, forbidden in the garden,

ferments into wine, wine

into sacrifice.


Virgin waits: echoes

of the bridegroom

at the closed gate,

walls for the climbing rose;

candles flicker, moonlight

wanes to the hem of dawn.


Cordelia M. Hanemann

Cordelia Hanemann is currently a practicing writer and artist in Raleigh, NC. She has published in numerous journals including Turtle Island Quarterly, Connecticut River Review, Dual Coast Magazine, and Laurel Review; anthologies, The Well-Versed Reader, Heron Clan VI and Kakalak 2018 and in her own chapbook, Through a Glass Darkly. Her poem, “photo-op” was a finalist in the Poems of Resistance competition at Sable Press and her poem “Cezanne’s Apples” was nominated for a Pushcart. Recently the featured poet for Negative Capability Press and The Alexandria Quarterly, she is now working on a first novel, about her roots in Cajun Louisiana.

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