‘Et dikt om livet, kjærligheten og døden’
The two lovers clasp one another
while gazing infinitely into the darkening forest –
his left arm around her waist,
her right arm falling into the small of his back.
Of equal height, these two forms merge into one:
the profile of the one matching exactly the edge of the other.
The figures are the heart of the image, pulling the eye
to the centre and downwards.
He is cast in a black, cloak-like suit;
there is no anatomy, only the hint of form
with hair and hand and foot as – and of – one.
One might call him lumpen, shoddy, ill-formed.
She is the ethereal one, almost diaphanous,
her body like a cut-out monoprint
which the artist can pluck out at will,
interchanging her for a more solid proposition.
So with the forest, printed from plywood
or a block made from smaller planks –
perhaps to confound the wood’s curve in drying –
a horizontal line, not a horizon, traverses the image.
The forest is largely imagined – hinted at.
The hasty scrapes and scuffs prefiguring
the dense spruce of the Kristiana hinterland –
a solid swathe of green suggests the darkness within.
The park or lawn is barely solid ground –
for the lovers show no feet, being planted
like a northern topiary, they sway and veer
at the forest’s edge, afraid to venture in.
There is just room and no more
for the boreal sky of cloud and blue-green.
Like being enclosed, when there’s no sky to see;
the lovers’ gaze moves towards the shade and shadow.
What force renders them immobile?
The maiden has been seen before
and the darkened man, straight from the
funeral of life, they clutch each other, just as before.
Just as she is soft, so too is she flighty;
as strong and noble are his arms
his tears fall nightly, when out of her grasp.
To the other each can seem but a febrile illusion.
And so they gaze, forever inwards,
their backs to the world, aware but uncomprehending.
The ill-lit path is kinder than the glare of the open park.
They imagine taking that first step among the needled branches…