The Obituary Of A Liberal


Jan Oscar Hansen
© 2004



Could have walked to the town centre, but
since it was a very warm day I took the bus.
It was full, housewives; young folks and
children. Sat next to a grave looking young
man who asked me if I were Swedish, then
without waiting for an answer told me that he
had been there studying comparative faiths.
" Doesn't reading theology give you and
abstract view of God?" I asked. "No, I love
God more than ever before" His eyes were
much older than his face and had the inner
sheen of a true believer. As the bus came to
my destination I pulled the cord got up and
bad him farewell. Strolling by I was brutally
flung to the ground . . . silence, then a terrible
noise, the bus had exploded and was burning
fiercely. Dazed and angry I got up; who are
these people, how can they expect any pity
from us? Whatever grievances they have
against us they have to negotiate calmly and
not by blowing up the innocent. Murderous
bastard! Looked amongst the dying to see if
the young man had survived. Here was a man
who had found God, a man the future needed,
brutally killed by senseless, cowardly fiends.
Someone led me away, gave me a glass of water.
fuming I told a soldier that it was his job to go
to their camps and flatten every house till he
found the thugs. He looked another way.
Later that day I learned that the suicide bomber
had been a theology student.

Words & Voices

My soul is the third eye, sees
what my own eyes can't.
It's got a voice, too, which tells
me to be wary of glib words
and sophisticated smoothness.

Tells me not to accept what I
read or hear from melodious
voices, but look beyond and
find the true intent that often
is self-serving.

I find that grumpy words and
cross voices of the street have
more wisdom and more love
to offer than shiny suits around
a conference table.

Lost Love

Why do you sit here and smile?
Drink up your wine old man
then tell me a story of the sea.
a tale of the calm ocean and
dreams. Do you miss her still?
Why do you smile old man? Will
you not share your memories
with me? I've given you wine
now it's pay time, so tell me
the story when you fell in love
in Bangkok. Not much point,
my young friend, you must
live your own life first before
you can understand that the love
you lost is the one you remember
the most.


The door to the room of adulation opened and
for a moment glory and they gave him a medal
but in the shadows behind, mocking danced
tainting his triumph. Do not, it sang, think that you
are special every thought you have are old and
banal gleaned from corn flake boxes, newspaper
religious tracts, magazines and pamphlets.
.and beyond the mocking stacks of silences of
those who appear in history books, so dreaded
is the unknown that we invented God and this
self illusion will ease us into the ultimate stillness

That Day Was Special

Carl, Eric and I sat on a storm fallen tree, on an elevation overlooking our
town's shunting yard. Mars and the sun was warming us, not just hanging
about being pale and insipid. Birds were busy picking tiny twigs ready to do
be a part of the endless cycle of reproduction. While sitting there and
feeling at ease with the world shunting a bottle of vodka between us Carl
got so overwhelmed that he began
crying talking about his little boy his ex wife wouldn't let him see and
about Jesus. Eric and I ignored him and talked "If," politics putting the
world to right. When the bottle was empty and we had drunk the beer we had
in a bag, we're tired and walked down to the yard, climbed into a nearly
empty goods wagon and went to sleep. Later a guard awoke us told us to get
lost .and we're in another nameless town. Walking around this awful place we
came across a corner shop that sold beer. The grocer wouldn't sell us any
since it was after six o'clock, but we kept staring at him till he relented.
Followed a disused rail-track till we found workman hut broke open it's lock
and settled for the night. Awoke early Carl wasn't there but outside asleep
with his head on a track waiting for a train that would never come. Eric and
I cheered him up gave him the two last bottles of beer. Since it was morning
and the same birds appeared to be picking the same tiny twigs we began
walking home. Carl having survived a suicide attempt was cheerful told us
daring stories about himself, tales he had wanted to tell his little son, we
loved him that day.

Haiku (sea)

When dust of sunlight
Settles on the sea's surface
It dreamily smiles.

Rainfall on the sea
A gentle windless day
Mood indigo.

Foam flecked sea
Galloping stallions chase dreams
On oceanic pampas.

Timid tears in a cove
The old lovers sea and sky
Mourn their parting.

The Trail

In the dale where I live there is a trail leading to
the top of a hill from where I can see the sea
the trail used to be overgrown since few have
need to go up there. I had fled inland to get away
from this unfaithful mistress, but seeing her at
a great distant smiling seductively I remembered
her warm tropical nights her raging green, foam
spewing infernal shrieks and her long peaceful
undulating rides. No, there is no going back, I'm
not even tempted, secure here in my valley but
for the record the track leading up to the top
of the hill is well trodden now.


She fell from
the sky
of life
a drop of rain
into the ocean
of death.
The memory
of her life
are rings
on water
slowly fading
Smooth is
oceans surface
my questions.

Morning feel

Now that my almond tree has deflowered
and its spindly branches are covered in
delicate green leaves, it feels itself, in misty
morning light, so beautiful that it can take
lift, be pure as air and shimmer above ground.
It tries but loses faith and as the mist clears
My tree is still rooted to the good soil and
moist is its fragile leaves.

The Chef.

Ben the famous vegetarian TV cook extolling soya beans snitzel
and sizzling carrot burgers. Smiling, tanned oozing wholesome
living, but he had a cruel addiction.meat that kept him awake
at night. When his vice got unbearable he donned horn rimmed glasses a false
beard drove far from the city and gorged on
chicken lamb and beef. One day when in Scotland a man, came
up to his table and said " Aren't you Ben, the famous vegetarian
T. V chef?" " No, me from Norway cook on ships, me no speak plenty" The man
looked puzzled, but said sorry and left. Ben was
so shocked by this near scandalous exposure that he ordered
a whole roasted chicken and took it up to his hotel room where he could eat
in peace. If people knew he was an eater of meat he
would be rediculed especially since he came from Liverpool and
his father was Irish. Ben could see the screaming headlines
"Vegetarian chef exposed as a fraud" From now on he would order food up to
his room and be safe from prying eyes, Ben smiled to himself they were not
going to catch sir. Next day's headlines " Famous vegetarian chef
from Liverpool found dead in his hotel room in Inverness, chocked on a
chicken bone"


He is resting in the shadow of a carob tree
the old man all morning he has been turning
dark beautiful soil over with his hoe

He will plant simple things like beans and
Cabbages then watching his greens grow
tending and watering.

He will in time harvest then rest till its
time to plant again. He's is bookless and
wise the soil is his creed.