Poem Collection
by Jan Oskar Hansen

The Opera Singer.

They found him in a field
of poppies, weed and
flowering almond trees.

Slowly sinking into ground,
the skin on his face had
the colour of soil.

A nuisance when alive
singing rude songs keeping
us awake at night.

Now he lies on a spot
where an evergreen bush
shall shimmer in the sun.

...And his soul will smile
when seeing us hastening by,
on the road to nowhere.

The Trail

It's an old trail, old as the landscape; older than
the trees, which exposed roots boldly cross it like petrified brown snakes. Mule
hooves and man
have made it deep and barren, but now that few
walk to the hamlet it leads to; green shoots are
coming up through cracks in hard soil. No one
lives in the hamlet anymore haven? done so for
years, now reduced to a pile of stones, a memorial
to the passing of time and the ultimate futility of
human toil.

Through and behind the hamlet the trail continues, fainter now almost invisible
like a fine scar across
a beautiful face making it hauntingly mysterious.
The trail abruptly ends at the foot of an ancient oak and beyond, that marker,
the hot breath of a bush landscape, that rolls up a hill till it merges with low
clouds and disappears into a haze of nothingness,
into a great void where all humanity will vanish and their tombstone shall be
heap of rocks, which in time will be yellow sand, seashore on a tropical island.

The Slaughter

It was Monday morning when Jose
and his brother came for her. Slowly
she got up and looked at them with
friendly, pale blue myopic eyes. But
when they tied her legs up, till she
couldn't move, she began screaming,
human like, so high pitched that a hall
mirror in Antonio's house cracked had
his wife worried. Perhaps the pig has
a human soul? ...And the ink in my
fountain pen froze. When the scream,
to my relief stopped, I knew her throat
was slit and that she convulsed as life
seeped out of her eyes. A happy sow
had given birth to many endearing
piglets in her time, a sty all by herself
thinking that she was happily retired.
Blessed are the innocent and with gusto
we will eat their flesh.

The Long Goodbye

Drove down to the airport this afternoon,
don't like airports, ferry terminals and
train stations. Dislike seeing people leave,
tearstained faces, awkward goodbyes and
lies told about keeping in touch. They also
awake in me a longing to be somewhere else,
a mythical place, free of world-weariness.
The one I was saying my goodbyes to wasn't
there, must have left on an earlier flight.
Just as well, she would have cried and I would
have told lies. Bought a newspaper, drove
back home and died a little.

Kitchen table, morning shadows, coffee.

The perception's sense
of rejection, a haze of gloom
making the day grey.
The same question keeps
repeating itself: "What are you
doing here in this foreign land?"
"I was born here..." Yes, but
you have been away too long,
you are a stranger now"
Shadows grow longer, melancholic
is the man who has lost his
home land.

A boy and A worm

The child counted blades of grass
on the lawn, came to hundred which
was as far as he could count when
he was distracted by a worm, it was
yellow/brown and almost transparent.
Once he had seen Peter, his friend,
swallow one and wanting to be brave
too he quickly swallowed the worm,
it tasted of damp soil and then since
there was no one around to tell he
began counting blades of grass again
Came to hundred, when it struck him
that if the worm got hungry it might
eat his stomach. Fearful he ran to his
mother and told her what he had done.
She smiled, gave him a glass of water,
with a drop of vinegar in it, to drink.
"Now there, soon the worm will come
out at the other end," she said.
He looked for days, never saw that worm.

Nave Das Sobreiras

The shimmering light green
bush by the wayside was
made of condensed spring air,
...and by touch as soft as
the aroma of Danish pastry.
It had sprung up at dawn, this
transient beauty and will by
noon have disappeared under
car exhaust and road dust.

Then as night's shadows
paled and became day I saw
around me a green landscape,
sun tipped blue weed and
delicate maroon poppies with
petals that trembled slightly
in the ecstasy of life.

"Bom Dia" A voice down at
the olive grove sang, it was
Manuel, with a hoe slung
across his shoulder, on his way
to till his small plot of land.
...And the day commenced.

The Shriek

The bar's door opened and a nicotine infested
shaft of light was thrown out. Above corny
music, hoarse laughter. The door slammed
shut and the hurt but not mortally so, shaft
crawled along the kerb climbed a lamppost
and blended with dejected yellow light.

Underneath the lamppost, a badly lit stage,
a woman, scantly dressed, stood she had
something to sell, but in the dismal light
her face looked like a death mask and since
there were few necrophiliacs about, on this
slow Monday night, she had to wait long
before she could go back into the bar and
seek comfort amongst fellow losers.

On the other side of the street a bus stopped,
wheezing doors opened, for a moment she
had an audience of stony faced shift workers
going home, they didn't applaud her heroic
effort to look sexy. Diesel fume wafted through
still air and come to rest on murky asphalt as
a sullied rainbow.

When the bus left her body shrunk, tears found
cracks in a ruined face and the echo of a silent
scream shifted dust on pavements.

Christmas Eve 1971

Raised, angry voices forbidden words
spat out between hateful lips, words
picked up by a frightened child, in his
dark bedroom and remembered more
clearly than a lullaby

A slap than singed his ears, his new uncle,
had hit mother hard across her face.
The boy burrowed his head into the cool
pillow feeling weak and useless, yet
planning his revenge for when he grew up.

He thought of drowning himself then
they would all feel sorry, his mother
would cry, but the thought of that made
him cry too, beside he couldn't swim and
the sea was dark and winter cold.

Christmas Eve, in the flat below the radio
played a tune about a red-nosed reindeer.

An Accident Unfolds

Driving along a mountain road
a rock loosened from a cliff face,
man and car crushed like an ant
by a thumb

A second from impact to certain
death can room within it all
the agony and pain the world has
ever known.

A flash of clarity, the final truth,
there is but one and it can? be

Rusty radiator water dripped into
unpaved road and for an awestruck
moment the silence vibrated.

As It Never Was.

Strawberry flavoured lollies
On a hot summer's day,
Drops of ruby on my singlet.

Flies tried to kiss my sweet
Rosy lips and cool was the grass
In the shadow of a pine tree.

The translucent redolence of
Seeping sap, toadstools and
Yellow snakes in dreams.

Hostile forest, fearsome lakes
And deliciously heart stopping
Monsters in the white night.

A summer that lasted long
And it never rained? In my childhood.

Secret Lovers?

Into my cafe comes the lady
who has a flower shop next
door, she wears a morning
face, pale and slightly puffed.
Later, at the back of her shop,
she will put on a painted face
and smile to her costumers

Shortly after the bank teller
enters for his coffee, he has
a narrow indoor face and long,
thin fingers which he drums
on the counter while drinking
his brew and waiting for the bank.
to open.

Then a group of bewildered
tourists clumsily seep in and
I'm almost too busy to notice
that she has been crying and
that the bank man's lips are
a pale scar of angry rejection


It is morning now
dust is moist and
somewhere near
a cockerel crows,
welcoming the day
after a night
of moral betrayal.

Hungry Dog

Boiled two eggs for my breakfast, one was
Very big and I hoped it had two yolks.
But when I cut its top off the devil's head
Popped up, grinned and said:
"Eat me if you dare"
I gave the egg to my dog, which wolfed it
Down ignoring Satan's spluttering indignation.
The cur burped, farted and Apollyon escaped
In a rank haze
The smaller egg I put in the deep freezer
In case one of Lucifer's imps was in it.
When I thawed and peeled the egg, a month
Later, a tiny dragon sprung to life, bit my
Thumb and the air turned darkly cyan.


Blackbird, how I envy
Your flight.
I'll kill you some day.

Sharp eyes, yellow beak
Look down on me.
Do you pity me?

Fly high, higher still
Hunters with guns are
Watching you.

They will shot you And
You'll tumble to the ground
Feathers of dust.

Inky arrow on blue
Falling star.
Are you my soul?

Next Week Dear

The plumber? wife left him
because he never got around
to fix a leaking water tap.

For a while she lived with
a carpenter in a house of
jammed and creaking doors.

For the moment she lives with
an electrician and has to do her
knitting by candle light.

Next Week Dear

The plumberís wife left him
because he never got around
to fix a leaking water tap.

For a while she lived with
a carpenter in a house of
jammed and creaking doors.

For the moment she lives with
an electrician and has to do her
knitting by candle light.

A Lyrical Walk

A mighty carob tree tries to make an arch across
the lane, it only manage a half one trucks cut its branches short. In a field
nearby a farmer has planted beans colourful plastic bags on a line keep birds
away. There used to be a scarecrow in the field a pathetic sight, mice nested in
his stomach and a thieving raven stole his eyes. The end came when a tramp took
his coat and his torso flew away in a storm. The mice sought refuge under a pile
of rocks and are protected by a mild mannered snake which only eat three of them
a week and that's alright mama, mice breed fast and can't count. A boy of ten
balances on the shadow of a telephone cable that, crosses the lane; he focus
gravely never looks, up my father doesn't recognise
the old man who's watching him. The sun slips behind a cloud and changes from
gold lamp into a purple night gown it's time to go home light the fire, dwell
upon the day and let it gently pass into the mythical land
of memories.

The Eccentric One

There lives in the forest by a lake
a strange mysterious one, he doesn't
bother anyone here, there or in
the village near.

Sometimes, after drinking wine, his
eyes go wild when remembering
the seven seas and all the beauty
he has seen, then he dance with
elves only he can see and sensible
folks keep clear.

Daring ones tells of strange orchids,
tropical birds and enchanting lights
in palm trees when in the twilight he
shanties sing...But fearful eyes tell
many a tale when the moon shines
on the forest in the night.

Our Town

Every building in our town is round, no
corners where to stop talk to friends or piss
manly up against a damp wall, in a dark
alleyway, while drinking cans of cold lager.

In our town cafes have no chairs we stand
by a counter and drink lemonade only
a glass though, two have too much sugar
make us high and beside rot our teeth.

In our town tobacco and booze are classified
as heroin those caught imbibing or smoking
receive psychiatric counselling, electric shock
therapy and must go to AA meetings

In our town we practice democracy, every
political party is allowed but those who do not
belong to the mayors party are spied upon, lose
their job and can't get a mortgage.

In our town there is no poverty those who fall
into that trap are chased out of town into a bleak
vale where a helicopter drops food parcels when
it doesn't rain. (It often rains at that place)

In our town tolerance is weakness. If you are not
a sports fan you are banned, jogging is a must.
Our motto is "blank mind in a healthy body"
We are happy and live long when not committing suicide.

Dance with Mortality

Salvesen expired on the smooth dance
floor of a posh restaurant doing the tango,
very fast, not a good idea considering
his dodgy heart. A half smile wide open
eyes, women moved away didn't want
dead eyes looking up their skirts.
Sober men carried him into an ambulance,
flashing light casting a blue spell upon
pale faces. After a brief but heavy silence
the manager knocked on the microphone,
told us that Salvesen wasn't dead. We knew
otherwise but pretended to believe him.
The band struck up and we danced.

Untitled (sem titulo)

In zero stillness
there is a hum
that never alters
nor stops.

It is the hum
of nothingness
that sings through
the universe.

The Pig

The spotted pig grunted happily
digging its snout into soft soil,
in the trench behind the tropical
island's whorehouse. So much
human waste to eat that he was
getting fatter than is normal for
a free range pig to be.

Unknown to it though, the pig
was watched by hungry human
eyes, next week, when the last
ship sails, the whores will have
a feast, dance and sing they will
when digging into a succulent
roast. How is the pig to know?