Free Verse




Jan Oskar Hansen, PT


Yes, I Was There


On a flat rock resembling a upended headstone, under
a layer of green moss was scratched. “We’re here
No names. Were they a couple on a Sunday trip wanting
to mark their presence in a world so immense, a modest
attempt to capture time and let it pause for a fraction of
a second? “We’re here” It can’t be denied even when
everything else is forgotten and tracks are overgrown.

I thought of my years as a seafarer, I could not scratch
my name on the surface of the ocean. When a seaman
leaves his ship it sails on to other ports with a new crew,
and no one remembers your name. But I was there and
know the enchanting aroma of the seas, also the lonely
nights, books read a hundred times. The grey moss of
old age can’t hide what I knew and saw... “I was there.”





It is awfully poor country, with little to offer but carrots and sand.
Come to think about it very few carrots only brush land and dust.
People cry freedom but no one listens. A tiny place in the corner
of nowhere, mud huts and stones... no oil to lift a jaded spirit.
Chew a sort of weed that lulls souls into stupor and brings
temporary peace. Yet they go on fighting tyranny despite being
ignored by us, we who must be selective in whom to defend.
They want to be free in a land where no roses bloom knowing
they have little to offer others
sand and stones and a longing
to be rid of tyranny. "Help us," they cry to the sky, but the world
is full of carrots, dry sticks. Love of one's country is an odd thing

it can be full of scorpions and deadly snakes but it is the land of
their fathers they have seen it bathed in a golden hue at sunset
and they remember its hidden beauty.





Outside a bar, Bella Vista, in the sleepy town of Barranquilla,
a donkey wears a hat with holes for its ears, dozed.
Hot day, its serenity is endless. Around its closed eyes blue
flies crawled. I’m kind to animals, waved my hand in front of
its eyes to get rid of the flies. The beast saw it differently, kicked.
In the street only the donkey, me and the cruel midday sun,
everyone else had sought refuge in the dark interior of houses.
Looked at the bar’s dark, cool interior, since the beast didn’t
care for my sympathy I limped back in there and had a beer.





The saddest sight
A bar closed
Four in the morning
When I just want another
Before going home
To an empty flat
And a stuffed canary
In a dusty cage.
The consolation is
If I walk slowly
The Chinese grocer
Will be open
And he has got cold
Beer in his fridge.



When I Met Sir Cliff


I once met Cliff Richard at a newsagent
he bought a conservative paper
which, makes sense since he is loaded?
Cliff smiled to everyone in the shop,
I did not, can’t see why I should smile
buying a newspaper.
That is the difference between us except
he can sing bland songs that are pleasing
to the ear and he has got hair. We spoke

he was pleased to have someone to talk to
who wasn’t an adoring fan. We drank wine, too much
and I walked him home, he lived nearby.
He hadforgotten his keys to the gate,
but jauntily jumped over the wall.
And that was the last I saw of Cliff,
a slim bum disappearing behind a wall









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