Poem Collection
by Jan Oskar Hansen

Mother Rat

The big mother rat sat outside, near
the sewers exit, cleaning her face and
enjoying the first light of morning.
Contented smiled had just eaten a month
old abortion. She had no perception of
guilt not even when the tiny human heart
still ticked as she ripped into soft flesh.
It wasn't for a mere rat to reflect upon
what could have happened if the foetus
had been allowed to be a living child.
She had been a mother too, most of her
offspring had died, which is the cruel law
of nature in a colony of rats, but those
who lived did well in the sewer world
and she was proud of them


The Bull Elephant

A big hall, an indoor fair in Glasgow
where a bull elephant chained, rocks
to and fro. It had cried but was angry
now a deep ire against mankind.
Then the chains snapped, it broke lose
upended stalls, chased uncaring man
out of the hall, trumpeted so loudly that
other chained elephants, throughout
the land, could hear its call. They also
heard the shot bowed their heads and
dreamed of their native soil where
the soul of the bull elephant had gone


A Rocket Scientist

Yesterdays man a briefcase full
of plans that are sadly pass?
lives on his renom? Those in
power still receive him, but they
have stopped listening long ago.
Often, these days, they can? see
him (pressing business elsewhere.)
Now that he is no longer useful
something unsavoury about his
past, long suppressed by those in
the know, keeps cropping up and
his circle of friends is vanishing
as morning mist in a glade in May
Yesterdays man when you die
your obituary will be short, knives
will be out slashing at your fame,
skeletons will rattle and when
the dust has settled the truth about
you will be brutal, but no one can
deny that you were a brilliant
rocket scientist.


A Little Moment

Sunlight through the open
kitchen window shines and
the green plant, on the table
trembles; its shadow softly
touches a newspaper, a tea
mug and a yellow ashtray
with a stubbed out cigarillo.

A sparrow flies in, gets
caught by the curtain and
fluttering fear is freed by
helping hands. Twits, tells
its mate about the narrow.
escape? and Sunday noon
glides gently into the past.


Her Juvenescence.

Spring nipples
And sweet
Belly button
Pert nose of
Youth.
Sun and sand
Golden dawn
Shimmers in her
Eyes.
Melodious she
Snores,
The sound of
The well
Contented .
She is May,
Winter in my veins.
Days ain't getting
Longer.


Where the Buck Stops.

A smiling face
Eyes hidden
In deep sockets
Blue outline
Unheard screams
High heels on
Cold lava
Their love had
Ended
Only an agonised echo
Amongst
The despondent.
The sea. however,
Kissed the sand
And didn't
Give a damn.


Strange Morning

It has stopped raining only a blanket of
mist hangs around houses in the hamlet.
No one is up yet, which is unusual work
starts early here. Open a window call my
dogs not a sound and know that I'm alone
the others have fled in the night. A hissing
sound and out of the house, opposite mine
where the baker lives, an army of snakes
crawls towards me. Close the window, but
they have seen me and will try to get in
through cracks in the wall, key holes or
through the cane roof. The mist clears, but
it's getting darker and serpents are closing
in as I run to the car thinking I'll be safe.
Then I'm struck by a bolt of lightning and
dance like a puppet on a string, pass out.
When coming to, the snakes have vanished,
dogs bark, a tractor is ploughing a field and
someone is using an electric saw. The sky is
blue and the landscape is at ease with itself.


When Fear Rules

They stole the children and
invaded our dreams, turned
a green vale into wasteland.
Brooks of blood ran slowly
in a white landscape where
we walked on crushed skulls
to a lake now a rotten pool
infested by immoral calls for
vengeance. Thirsty prisoners,
in cages, rattled bars begged
for water, but guards lost in
concealed terror, laughed and
refused them any. Dust blew
as the sun shone mercilessly
on a landscape that had lost its
will to survive.


Old Lady Sitting

Hands folded by the table,
a birds tired wings at rest.
Eyes looking inwards to
the lost land of her youth.
Memories, paint a golden
picture, sun filters through
vine and she smiles


The Unlucky Hero

When Joseph, the cook fell, overboard
from the cargo ship, he was drunk and
everybody assumed that he drowned.
Not so! Joseph swam and swam in
waters known to have a fearsome shark
or two lurking about. In the morning
he saw a tiny, palm decorated island
preening itself in the glass still sea and
knew that he had survived. Wading
ashore he was watched by the island?
only inhabitant, who had come to sulk
there after an acrimonious divorce.
Then disaster struck, Joseph was hit by
a block of frozen shit discharged off
a charter plane full of happy holiday
makers, singing on their way to Cuba.
The sulker, relieved that he wasn't hit,
buried Joseph and made a cross out of
driftwood, on the cross he carved: Here
Rests An Unlucky Hero. The divorced
man, cured of his rancour, sailed back
to Jamaica, became a preacher, but not
a fanatical one, it was in a bar I met him
when telling me the story and I think it
is important for the world to know that
Joseph didn't dismally drowned.


The Intellectual Blond

I read a good book by Tolstoy only I have
forgotten its title, something about love
and betrayal? Jane the barmaid said.
Don't bother your pretty head about that
drinkers said, they loved her body and girlish
voice, but gave a damn about her mind.
Jane sighed and thought: When is anyone
going to love just me and listen to what I've
to say? One night a new patron came into
the bar he spoke to her about Hemingway,
which also Jane had read, thought she had
found her man and promptly fell in love;
for only to be bitterly disappointed.
It turned out that he was, a married English
teacher who had soft spoken her into bed,
and couldn't care less about her mind.
Betrayed her cruelly, treated her worse than
the regulars who, after all, were ignorant and
honestly lecherous. Back to the bar she went,
served drinks to men with sweaty palms,
smiled and smiled she did, playing the dumb
blond while saving money to buy more books.


The Sandbank

When the river meets the ocean
it strives to remember its nascent
and a sandbank of sadness forms.
A ship can, in moonless nights,
run aground and get stuck in deep
melancholy and her crew will never
be able to forget their dread.
Forever tramp, in a haze of gloom,
on a rusty deck- striving to recall
a mythical childhood land where
summers, by the river? banks, were
warm and long, the future a thrilling
dream of daring things to do when
reaching adulthood.


Rat Island (Or the missing link)

The fearful creature of the blue lagoon
meowed swam ashore and shook itself.
The ship's cat which had fallen off
a cargo ship, a stormy tropical night,
licked salty fur surveyed its new domain
while rats in bushes quivered. Fifty one
thousand rats in two years the cat ate and
it grew bigger than an Irish wolfhound.

When the island was clean out of rats it
turned aquatic and caught fish with its
sabre teeth; till the lagoon turned milky
white and empty. The fearsome creature
starved to death, and year later when its
skeleton was found by a zoologist, who
proclaimed that domestic cats ancestors
where in fact a sabre toothed canine.


The Past is an Old Movie.

The sky at night has many
stars once Archie was one
in his lifetime. in Bristol
a left handed man dressed
in a suit made of green dots,
released balloons, each one
had an image of serious
faces looking up waiting to
be entertained

Against crisp daylight they
vanished, later and deflated
to softly fall on the leaky roof
of a closed down cinema.
Rubbing against brown slates
they softly spoke lines learned
when watching the big screen,
but no one could remember
a matinee idol called Archie.


Haiku

A visit by spring.
Got the timing rather wrong.
It's snowing now.

Red rose on a wall.
Spray painted by a hooligan.
Beautiful sight.

Seven nights ago
a full moon dripped silver
on birch trees.

After heavy rain,
the beck laughs heartily.
Rainbow trout spawn.


Paint Me a Wednesday

The day is cold, but it isn't going
to rain. The sky is a great coat
dipped in icy water and left in
the deep freezer overnight.
Dogs have got the blues, can?
shake it off, even when offered
biscuits tails are not wagging.

A fine day for polishing a car.
Me? I rather stay indoors, sit
by the fireside reading a book.
Only I'm out of firewood and
the electric fire isn't up to much,
have to sit on it, but then I'll
singe my behind.

Ten to nine, still early, the bed
beckons. Should I? No, I'll only
feel guilty and think of things
I ought to do, like clearing out
the shed, and that's a drag. Oh,
what the heck! I'll go back to bed
and let the day look after itself.


Paint Me A Tuesday

The sky is innocently blue and to think
that it has been raining for days dogs
are coming out of their shelter, yawning,
scratching looking for scraps of food.
In our village they are not pampered pets
and bitches are always pregnant, but
useful they are when hunters come and
need them for scaring rabbits out into
the open. A dog, with a lame hind leg,
pushed out by the pack and of no use to
hunters, it? slowly starving to taut skin
over hips and ribs, looks into my window,
I draw the curtains. It isn't not for me to
feed this ugly being, I'll only prolong its
agony. Open the curtains, it? still there
begging silently, sad brown eyes it has
just like my brother?. Five solid slices
day fresh of bread with thick layers of
butter on I give it; wolfed down in five
seconds. Full for once it lies down in
the lane sleeps in the sun, this contented
dog, barks too when it dreams of chasing
rabbits. The dog didn't hear the tractor
before it was too late and with its lame
hind leg it never got away, blood and
dog fur on big tyres, a cursing driver.
Ten minutes of happiness the dog had
in an otherwise brutal and luckless life.
Five slices of day fresh loaf with butter
on, my friend, what more do want?


Paint Me A Monday

I sit on the roof and see that day
has settled into afternoon, morning
rain has dried, only a few damp
patches in the back yard and under
the apple tree where the sun doesn't
quite reach before spring. Dust is
now a dusty lane, instead of mud
on my black Sunday boots, those
I use for funerals here in the hamlet
where children are not born.

The day hopes for stillness and
a starlit sky to guide it through
the night and back to a new dawn
My wish is that five years hence,
I?l still be able to sit on the roof
and see day walk slowly by... and
not followed by an army of Christian
soldiers righteously laying waste
the green land of peace in search
for the last terrorist.


This Day My Time

Today clouds hang low and
the landscape mourns while
I paint a transparent rose in
a vase, on a canvas made of
misty window glass.

In the olive grove, fog hides
trees and a lamb sadly bleats
it has, for a moment, lost its
mother and the world is now
a fearful place.

The rose cries and droplets
of tears streaks the window
pane, soon it will be gone,
the vase too and I'll have to
paint me another dream.


My Tree

Today the good sun warms
soggy, green landscape and
the first shy buds on my
almond tree have appeared.
If the cold fingers of night
frost doesn't kill them at
birth, my tree will soon be
full of white flowers? and
once again I'll marvel and
say: How come that such an
ugly tree can be so beautiful?
Bashful the tree will tremble
and snow silk on sandy lane.


The Creed

On a dump
we found a
painting of
Jesus.
Wanted to put
him in a gilded
frame,
but we didn't have
any money.
Nailed him to
the wall instead
and since
the unknown
artist had
made him
slightly cross
eyed
Jesus could see
us no matter
where we sat.


And Angels Cried

The lino in the living room was frayed, near
the kitchen door unpolished floor boards
peeped through. Furniture of the simple sort
bought second hand years ago and on walls
black framed family pictures. Yet with flowers
on the window sill and summer sun filling
the room with brightness it had a nostalgic
charm and an echo of laughter. Now the room
was silent the one who lived here wasn't coming
back. Steps and whispers in the hall mourners
had come to see what she had of value, perhaps
she had money stashed in a cupboard? Anyway
her flowers were pretty. She used to say that to
have plastic flowers in the house was to invite
poverty; not knowing that for most she was seen
as poor. A childhood in a crowded orphanage,
a life time cleaning offices and emptying ashtrays
had brought her no riches, for her a flat all by
herself was to be blessed. A smile of contentment
had always played upon her lips which were now
painted and cold, and her sky blue eyes, so full
of mirth, were dimmed by unforgiving death.
The Mourners had taken the flowers and when
the echo of her laughter faded, angels cried and
the flat sank into gloominess.