A Summer Season Ends

Jan Oskar Hansen

The sea is cooler to day than yesterday,
the sand is damp underfoot, in the bay
dolphins swim about, finding breakfast
I suppose; fresh fish everyday.
Terns swoop don’t want me here, now
that bathers, have gone back to work,
their allotted days of relative freedom
has been absorbed by sand of time.

Holiday photos: “we’re there last year,”
but for now I’ll take my last swim of
the seasons, shiver a bit, yet feel good
when coming back ashore      

Full moon
Tide is high
So am I 
New teeth
If you meet
someone who
looks like me,
I doubt it,
they are impostors,
inspect their mouths,

I just got
Six new teeth
and have taken
to smiling a lot.

I did grin before, too
but with some

now there is
stopping me

you can
drive a truck
through my open
forever - smiling

Yes, I’m
no one loves me
like I do
In the glade tonight
Under the glare of moonlight
Women are burned
For making love in the hay
And enjoying it


The money tree, at the bottom of the municipal park,
the one my father showed me that dripped coins, is
inside a bank cathedral now, the park too has been
privatized; the corporation’s flag snaps, with clout in
the wind, people working there wear nametags and
are proud to belong to such a splendid organization,
that can tell small states how to run their affairs.
Flags are vital everyone must march under one, even
if it’s a rowing clubs banner; without one you’re alone.

Take the woman, who was married to a famous man,
he had left her for a younger one, she didn’t sink into  
oblivion, but hoisted her own colors, told the world he
had a small dick and a piscine air hung about him; her
banner is red, for rage, and has a £ sign printed on.

Sonnet to Seascape

I never saw how green the sea is off the coast
of Labrador, didn’t notice a blue whale blowing
a Geyser of warm water, and missed the halo of
haze the giant created. I didn’t see how azure  
the Caribbean is, nor dolphins racing alongside
my ship; the golden sand of Cuba passed me
by, as did shadows of tiger sharks on sunlit sea.

The majesty of a raging Pacific Ocean didn’t
register, busy I was navigating to Tokyo bay,
thinking of Japan’s many delights. Sea ports
have paled into irrelevance “What was her
name?” Now that it is too late, only the essence
of what I failed to be thankful for, the constant
beauty of the seascape, remains.      

A Seafarer’s Tale
I have seen the mountains when they
were raging seas, taller than Everest,
yet with a ballet dancer’s grace, leap   
across the stage of nature to the music
of Thor’s thunder and howling winds
Steady sea-legs now, hold on to an iron
railing, stay clear! Or the sea will bury
us under tons of water never to be seen
again. Yes, have seen peaks jive before
they turned into solid, silent rocks.     
Sonnet to a Schooner
The broken rigged schooner awaits the auctioneer’s
gavel to fall to the highest bidder, who will dismantle
her plank by plank, as material to build holiday homes
for the rich: “The floor you walk on was once part of
a ship’s deck,” a home owner will proudly point out.

Doesn’t he know she was built by hand and thus has
a soul? Seafarers’ blood has dripped on her deck and
men have fatally fallen out of her rigs; funeral at sea
she has seen. If I tonight, when the wind comes from
shore, take a chance, set sail for the open seas, ghosts
of sailors past, will come, man the rigs and set sail for
an ocean beyond the known, one unseen by any man
alive; only I’m not yet  prepared to go there, so I’ll
leave it for now, but will forever remember her well 
Got a letter today, my half sister’s
Meager possessions have been divided,
I’m now the owner of a step-ladder,
Two illustrated books and an atlas, but
I have to pick them up within a fortnight 

As her flat is being cleaned and re-let.
No, I never met my sister, father had
Many children, his adultery dismayed
Mother. A step ladder, two illustrated
Books and an atlas, nothing much to
Construct a lasting memory of; I only
Hope her life wasn’t lived in vain.    
The Happy Ending
At the funereal, open casket, he noticed the dead man
had an expensive diamond ring on his middle finger;
the same night, before the earth had settled into hard
labour he, lets call him Harry, dug open the grave,
stole the ring, as he didn’t bother to fill in the grave
again the story was in the papers next day, apparently
the ring was fake.  An unlucky man walked to the end
of the pier, where the sea is dark and shadows of fear
dance; flung the ring into its depth; plop, as a fleeting
hush cast a shroud of silver on the water. Harry, being
tall and bad on his feet, lost his balance fell in the sea
as well, since he couldn’t swim; screamed for help, as
drowning people do, and as always the echo of despair
made the sea cringe. The ring was swallowed by a cod
that was angled by an elderly fisherman, at dawn he sold
it at the fish-market? It was bought by a widow, who,
when gutting the cod, found a diamond ring, it wasn’t
a fake  and happy, at last, retired to the Antibes      

In the night
Snow flakes fell into the sea 

How useless is that?  
Sonnet to Moon Rays
Dug a hole in unwilling soil to bury my
dog when I hit upon a round ten kilo stone.
It rolled around on the grass like a cow let
out of the shed in spring, then came to rest
in the sun. Free at last after a thousand year
in darkness. Too light for it size I thought,
and was right, when moon came, the stone
loosened into individual strands of silvery
rays that jubilantly flew up and joined their
mother… La Luna. Lost in a sudden storm 
when time was new, before seasons became
a norm. Glad to have been of help I thought
of my dog she hadn’t died in vain, yet I had
a sleepless night fearing my own demise.

The Tall Tree
It had been raining for weeks
the track to my cabin muddy,
one day I sank down in it to the armpit,
couldn’t get up too slippery.
Must have fallen asleep
when I awoke my arms were boughs,
fingers twigs with leaves and I was covered in
a protective bark; in my crown birds sat and sang.
I grew tall and slender,
people came from afar to look at me for once
I was noticed. One day to my alarm
I saw they were building a four lane motorway
in the next valley, it was aiming straight at me,
thousands of trees were brutally cut down
to give way to a river of concrete.
Unbeknown to me, I had been made into
a national treasure
so the road had to make a detour.
Hundred yards from me it runs,
very fast full of metallic junk,
bloody noise if you ask me,
but in time the road will fall into
disuse and sink into the soil
and I’ll get my peace.    
Explosive silence
After the bomb has gone off
Before people scream

The Consequence
A legionnaire,  
in Chad,
is angry at
the sun
it has
for weeks,
cocks his
the burning
bits fall off
there are
in France...
Do Not Mention the War  

I had promised myself not to write about the war
in Iraq, my voice is weak and goes unheard, but it
pleases me to read that 500 British troops have
left Basra and gone to the air station out of town;
soon they will have gone for good…Bon voyage.

Not the American troops though, they will have to
stay a little longer and bleed more. Let the parents
of dead soldiers believe their sons died defending
their country, they are poor and need this illusion.

Why should we insist on telling the truth that their
loved ones died for vainglorious men who thought
they could rule the world unopposed 
The Longest Voyage
The ship was fully loaded we were going to an island
in the Saragossa that cannot be seen by radar as it is
always surrounded by a miasma of sadness, here
daybreak is only a five second glimmer in an endless
night and only navigators, who have be dead for forty
years can find this island.
Our cargo consisted of discarded dreams the islanders
had lived so long in peace that they had lost the ability
to think of esoteric things, their word expanse was of
seaweed and monster cods; but they needed this diversion
if not they are likely to sink into apathy and die  
When the ship blew its siren for the last time and
the gangway was lifted, I was hiding cowardly behind
a warehouse that was full of dreams destined for another
island, I wouldn’t like to be a part of this, giving people
second hand dreams when the could consisting of clichés
and spent phrases.
I could have lived with this mild betrayal if it hadn’t been
for the rule that no crew member were allowed to dream
or read or sing, but be, as often long time sailors are, men
who have lost their ability to remember
that once they were children and not blinded
by the tediousness of oceans.  
Worst of all, perhaps, it was said that ships going there
were crewed by the world weary,
men who are shadows of themselves
who drowned when crossing the vastest expanse,
too far away from a priest’s soothing words
where love had lost its meaning
and the last thought was
of a whore in Santiago.  
Gentle Wind
I can see the breezes that blow today,
sometimes they join up to a mass of
air blowing autumnal leaves of trees,
but soon tire of this split up into small
individuals that play with the sand on
the lane; creating tiny tornados while
waiting to join the big storm that now
is crossing the North Atlantic  

The War Weary
When I think of war I think of Falluja, massive
firepower total obliteration till silence descends
and one can hear blood dripping from the cross.

No heroes here only scarred and scared soldiers
who will take this horror home and remember it;
and for whom the war will go on in nightmares.  
Falluja, here a miasma of fear obscure the ruined
dwellings workers are rebuilding, but how do we   
repair a heart that has seen too much blood shed?

On A Day Like This
Parked in a side-street, decided to walk into the town
centre to buy my newspaper; legs ached, so very tired,
and since it was July I wore shorts, my legs looked fine
calf-muscles still strong; had I been a woman I would
have said: “look at that man hasn’t he a pair of sexy legs,
a masculine Marlene Dietrich.” Perhaps not, but as
I was thinking of her and Ernest Hemingway, they had
loved each other, but never got around to do anything
about it, I had walked out of the town wandering along
a lane, made of sea sand and crushed shells, till I came
to a crossing and at the left of it there was an enormous
carob tree and under it heavy low hanging branches
I found shade. Breeze filtered through the fleshy leaves
making it cool; I leaned on its solid trunk and felt at ease
with the world.

I was running up a very steep hill, light footed as an onyx,
the breeze…me, the act of running was a joy. At the top
I could see the glittering sea and to meet my love I raced
down hill faster than a stone could fall, and on the flatland
waved to farmers tilling their soil; and without pausing, at
the beach, I dived into the sea and began swimming till all
land disappeared.
I was at one with nature, around me circled happy dolphins,
but suddenly, flecks of dark shadows appeared on the surface
of the sea and it was cold despite the warm sun, I was utterly
alone, my arms were thin and belonging to someone very old;
as I throw my head back as not to drown my head hit the trunk
of the tree, I looked out the sun had just gone down, but was
still sending streaks of gold and orange across the sky. Back in
town I thought of the lovely story of Adam & Eve, a pity that
we’ll never know the name of the person, who wrote it;
at a grocer’s I bought an apple and went looking for my car

Unlucky Thief
The man who stole so much copper that
the suspension on his van broke when
he tried to get away; instead of legging it
he was caught when calling a tow-truck  
The judge made cheap jokes on the man’s
behalf, like thieves hasn’t got pride too.  

Not only sent down he also lost, unfairly,
I thought; the automobile associations
membership card he had had for ten years.    

What the Paper Says
There are no elephants on the shores of the Mosquito
coast, and that’s ok; only poor, red snapper catching,
people lives here. Lately, however, drugs meant for
the middle classes of Boston, drifts ashore, bales of
it, fallen off the back of a speed boat, it is sold back
to those who lost it, that only right and proper.
Money goes a long way when you’re poor, but only
as long as none of then inhale what’s in the bales.
If they do, phantom elephants, scared by buzzing of
angry, none existing bees, will stampede; and that’s
no good, red snappers will go uncaught and
the middle-classes of Boston will run amok as well.   

A Weather Forecast
It is slowly raining in New York City today, big
drops lazy fall, roll along 42nd street pick up dust,
collide with other drops and become dirty water
that runs down a sewer hole with vertical bars.
Hudson River runs full too, much rain upland,
and New Jersey, where Tony lives, got a drenching
too, Mr. Soprano slouches in his pajamas feels
ancient at 47, and worries about the future 
In the City, where the absence of the Twin Towers  
is still seen, the Central Park need a good soaking;
 a big rat put its snout through the vertical bars,
looks up at the mournful sky and sighs.   
Diamonds are forever
But you’ll not always be there
To see their sparkle.  


Gold, the perfection, shining bullions sit
In dusty bank vaults and have no aroma
Human effluence is quite useful, enrich  

The soil and fills the air with roses’ scent.

Shangri La

Tibet used to be a quaint place, full of monks and
poor people who didn’t often washed their faces.
Intrepid westerners liked the place, thought it was  
a Paradise, even though no one stayed too long.
Then the Chinese came and, as occupiers often,
do destroyed works of art, the Lama, and his staff,
fled to India. Now modernity has arrived, there is
less poverty, roads have been built and it has been
said that there are dancehalls and painted ladies in
Lhasa. Life is better now, chiefly for the poor, yet
people will, it’s been said, endure the hardship of
freedom and yak butter in their morning tea for  
a taste of independence. Westerners will be back
and write books about this authentic Shangri La.

The Reason
The bells you hear, when busy voices briefly ceases,
are made of brass and polished, at dawn, by the spittle
of seven deeply religious monks in the far away Tibet;
where they use yak butter in their morning tea. 
When first light strikes the bells there is and explosion
of the colours, blue and green, that lives inside the sun,
without these tones the seas would have been dull as
a rain puddle, outside Gare de Lyon, a fall afternoon. 
Can haiku stop wars?
Yes, but only if written 

On a projectile

A shiny fly came, sat on the coffee pot lid, it wasn’t
big, but behaved in the manner of a son of, say,
a minor Hungarian aristocrat. I swatted it with a dish
cloth it fell into the sink, not dead opened the tap and
down the plughole it went. I was eating a slice of loaf
with blueberry jam, when it came out of the plughole,
clambered out of the sink, sat on saucer and began
cleaning its wings while buzzing loudly.

I was eating a slice of loaf with strawberry jam, as
a way of variation, when a small, grey faced fly came
flying in it settled on my cigarette lighter, I knew this
one came from a tower block estate hidden behind
a ring-road, a place with burnt out cars and grim silence;
where the “racaille” live, as the French president calls
them. I killed it twice to be sure to be sure it didn’t
survive long enough to try lit my lighter.

©2008 Jan Oskar Hansen