Jan Oskar Hansen,
I didn’t believe it
was possible, mind I had been away
for some time, angels growing old? In the fair Faro,
an old city in Algarve, Portugal she lives and used to
be as blond and pure as the ones one sees in fairytale
books, here where people are olive skinned and look
Arabic—which make them kinder than peoples who
live up north-. When she floated through my town in
the afternoon, people lined streets in the hope that
her smile would fall on them for luck, alas, no more.
Grey haired now, wearing slippers, bunions give her
great pain, she looks inwards which is a good thing
as no one recognizes her anymore. Smiled to her and
said hello—that woke her up, she smiled back at me,
yes, the same angel is still in there just harder to see;
thus fortified by her glow I did my newspaper round.
Murky day in my
valley—the mountain which
Is a gigantic, petrified tidal wave of soil and
boulders, is obscured today—should it liquefy,
the vale will be a plateau with a story to tell
but no one around to tell it too, except for
mustangs that only care about the quality
of the grass. Perhaps some of us would live
on in air pockets underground turning into
earth worms while looking for a light switch
we knew used to be on a wall while gulping
stale air, not grasping that we are doomed;
as a battery radio plays a dirge because
the king is dead like that should be our chief
concern on the day our valley disappeared.
Barefoot in the
The beach, I used to
walk here often years ago with
dog is now dead and it is against the law
for animals to be on beaches—except
only because it isn’t practical to ban them, looks clean
and raked most of it is fenced in and belongs to some
hotels. The bathing season hasn’t started. I ignore signs
telling me I shouldn’t be here, ignore too a spy camera
mounted on a concrete pole. Ok, I’m too old to make
love in the sand, but I feel sorry for people who can
but are spied on and arrested for enjoying themselves.
Where sea washes sand it is easy to walk; I turn and see
my footsteps erased by lazy ripples. It is like I never was
here, and I miss my dog. I will not be back here again
before the fall when the season is over, perhaps by then
there will be barbed wire and armed guards to stop me
seeing the sea I used to know so well.
In a land where no
how to boil an egg or to peel
potatoes, the cook is a TV star.
Cultivated Is My Valley
Peaceful is the
landscape and the lane that meanders
amongst olive trees. Stone walls neatly divide the land
a bit for everyone, but not enough to make you rich.
Here dogs only bark at night and have cowardly, yellow eyes—
there is no wolf left in these subjugated canines.
In Stockholm when spring comes ice shards fall off roof
tops, split brains in half, gore on snow. On paradise
islands too one has to look out for falling coco-nuts—
they can so easily kill a man; but here, in my valley, only
petals of the almond tree flower fall.
Birdsongs and breeze
that caresses olive trees, now that’s
peace, ok, so should I not be happy as I contemplate
a carob tree? I see a woman bending down, weeding her
potato field, clouds on the sky are as soft as the mustachio
on a Romanian girl’s upper lip. All this heralds peace so
why shouldn’t I be happy when seeing a flock of cows
with full udders ready to be milked at five? Yet I dream
galloping horses on the pampas of Argentine, flying mane,
flaring nostrils. This place I tell myself lacks passion, it’s
too tame, or is it me that has been restrained by age?
Touros em Portugal
The bull, led into
the arena knows no fear, its
rage is against the man and horse it sees as one.
Elegantly the Pegasus evades the bull’s horn,
the beast snorts, has no sense, bleeds dark blood
from wounds inflicted on the neck by its taunting
nemesis’ banderilhas. The bull, blood on muzzle
takes a break, Pegasus takes a bow—what a great
show. A group of men, dressed as cowherds of
yore, jump into the arena—the unwilling beast is
provoked into attacking them, but weakened by
blood loss it is soon subdued, and much praise
is heaped on the bold group. Cows are brought
into the ring, the bull meekly follows them out, later
it is butchered, its meat given to the poor, its ears,
I presume, are nailed on the wall of the cowshed.
This room, dirty
where pictures hang,
has no furniture,
dust on floorboards
dances to a tune unheard by man;
the beauty here is that of
the essence of happiness is less,
yet many fillsa their
space with futile objects
because they can’t bear
the intrusive silence of bareness.