This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
A Cynical View from a Balcony in Paris
Tanka, Senryu, poems and stories.
Oscar Hansen [Pick the date]
Is the Eifel tower female? Yes, she is a timeless Miss Paris. Leaves are getting auburn and there is no denying fall is here. I’m the great survivor standing on a plateau of nothingness. Many wasted years, ok, but it was those years in the wilderness that brought me here. I shall not climb the tower from the outside to honour the army of workers, who built this magnificent tower. They are all but forgotten now. The name Eifel lives on, but the man himself lost his crown when trying to build the Panama Canal. I walk in a long corridor with many doors, but I will look inside, my curiosity is gone I need not know. My goal is to reach the end of the hall where I see shadows, perhaps the great man Eifel is there, and if not, I hope it is the army of the forgotten I will meet.
Fear of Flying
Having spent a week in Israel and seen the inequity and arrogance of the way the Palestinians were treated, I had a breakdown and sent to a psychiatric hospital. When feeling better a male nurse was flying with me to London. The nurse had a great fear of flying I persuaded him to take valium he was to give me. He got quite giddy, I ordered whisky for both of us. He insisted on singing Yiddish songs and fell asleep. I told the stewardess not to disturb him as he had mental problems .For safety he was hand cuffed and I moved to another seat. When we landed he had to be wheeled into the terminal and it took me some time to tell them that it was no longer my duty to look after him anymore. The nurse was carried Into a cell while I caught a plane to Liverpool.
World’s oldest man Hundred and twenty today Resides in a zoo Visitors gasp as he smokes The ape enclosure is shut.
Gorillas are envious No one throws them bananas Neglected and hurt Want to go back to Gabon Where Jane Goodall visits them
Senryu A pretty butterfly Flitters across a highway Splash.
The admiral is dead Sail ships congregate in the bay Sunset
Red admiral pale Shivers on my window ledge September.
What Happened to Laughter?
What I miss the most not being a child, is its exuberance. The easy tears and laughter, to jump up in the air for no reason at all other that it gave a dizzying sensation. I loved to go to circus, laughed uproar sly at the clown and admired the lion tamer with his whip.
These days a clown’s mask is an unfolding tragedy and animals should be free to survive or die in the wild. But I still hanker for the days of innocence which is so utterly lacking in morality. Now I seek refuge behind irony a place where to hide my tears and hilarity.
On my walks I picked up a perfectly formed elm leaf, the colour of dry tobacco. In Norway, during the Nazi occupation, people had tobacco plants in back yards. Perhaps carrots and cabbage had been healthier. Put the leaf on top of a white wall and took a picture. The wind came and blew it away. I brief meeting of equals and a memory
Christmas in Lisbon (1974)
The day before Christmas the Atlantic was in a frenzy it was with relief when we turned starboard and met the softer water of Tagus.
We birthed far from town, on a double Decker Bus I had bumpy drive into town. I good meal and wine, just sting sitting there reading newspapers.
Rang my wife to hear a friendly voice, she asked if I was drunk since I sounded chirpy. Put down the phone Drank some more wine and aimlessly walked about.
Picked up an cushy prostitute, needed a warm body next to mine, In the morning I took a taxi back and a new long, laborious shipboard day began.
It is Saturday, the lady in the flat next to mine, Is playing Mozart on her stereo I have stopped reading, sit back and let the wonderful music sooth my mind. I’m also immensely grateful that It is not someone learning to play the drums that lives next door.
The Excursion (Edith Piaf)
A man with blue rinsed hair was our leader. We stopped outside the house where she was born, the house is still a dwelling and the stone steps to the door looked well trod. Our leader held up pictures of the lady, photos I had seen before on YouTube, and told us a fairy tale about her goodness. For a moment I thought he was talking about a saint. We retired to a cafe where he sang “La vie en rose” and forever destroyed the most beautiful of songs..
Second Excursion (Edit Piaf)
Fighting my way through the Metro and jostling with rude French commuters I found my way back to where Edith was born. The street was now entirely Taken over by the Chinese, and best of all several weddings were going on. The Chinese really can throw a party, noise, laughter and lovely brides. While I sat on the steps outside Edith’s house, her voice came back to me – the offensive blue rinsed man had not succeeded after all. It was a beautiful autumnal day and together Edith and I walked to a park overlooking Paris and saw, at safe distance, the Fabled Eifel tower looking old, yet elegant in glorious sunlight.
A Cynical View from a Balcony in Paris
Fine rain, open umbrella, sitting on the balcony of a hotel overlooking Haussmann – Saint Lazare. A throng of people and cars, but something as changed, people drinks Starbuck coffee and eat burgers on the hoof. Old restaurants are closing or converted to fast-food joints. I sigh and drink from a bottle of Bordeaux to avoid getting rainwater in my wine. This place together with rue d’Amsterdam used to be where the posh people lived and now, safe for the ruddy scrap yard tower, this could have been downtown New York.
Tanka (air travel)
Air travel Like number nine to Garston Lost its lustre You will get nothing to eat But you can buy high mileage food.
Our Alger taxi driver Had two wives and five sons Worked 18 hours day How come he had time for sex? “O, it only takes five minutes.”
Today, now as the weather is cooling, I went on my walk. Hadn’t been here since June; simply because it gets to hot to walk here in summers. The stony part of the track was firm like walking on a cobblestoned street. The soft part was like walking barefoot on a newly mowed lawn. At the part where thorny bushes had made archway, a tunnel of mystery, I hesitated. Needn’t have worried the branches embraced me like a mother who’s young son is coming home from the sea. When I stopped for a rest under the tree where also sheep rest in the heat, leaves, in perfectly still air, fell as confetti welcoming the returning hero. How I love this odd landscape, once it was tilled but now humanity have gone leaving the land to its own devise and strange beauty.
Tanka (Neo fascism)
The exterminators Unrelenting nightmares -are The superiors The best must be beheaded To ease the minor’s burden
The God Problem
Religions’ root Is man’s guest to live forever Not only of flesh But superior to other life forms Spiritual and advanced
He seeks a deity In his own vain image Insist he’s right Ready to kill for his icon And askew timelessness
Will not accept He’s no more than a weed Or a dandelion Forever seeking assurance That life offers more than death
Twenty years ago What I thought of as correct I now see as wrong I could have been right back then If my views are now habitual Due to lack of perceptions
But twenty years ago I lacked lives true experience Habituated by norm Following the mainstream I may see thing clearer now
On the Highest Crest
Beautiful October God has gone main-stream Ignores the seasons Wants to be loved by us all Before the big deluge
Lovely October God disregard the cycles My river is dry While I sunbathe by its shore And think of buying camels.
Godly October Vacation’s our new deity Tomorrow is today Frost and snow are banished But Himalaya is an island
Pretty October We fight for a place to sit The strongest win Design a new national flag And build a golden temple
Scenic October The Sea is heaven’s mirror God was a dream No echo of man lingers The long stillness has begun
Three horses graze on my land, one is a foal. In the twilight and with gentle rain falling they remind me of work horses of by gone days when I steered the plough that made furrows in dark, clean soil. When I stroke their flanks the good aroma of warm horse arises; dreams are endless. In daylight they pretend to be boulders, but even then they make the land serene.
Happy birthday The festive occasion Wishing me well This gaping greedy hole Too deep for an almond tree
Wonderful birthday I’m the oldest in my family The rest have died Seventy two years old Am I immortal?
Blissful birthday Carefree October month A drifting ice floe Breaking up in the ocean Who will rescue me now?
Jubilation of life Trumpet revel of a new day Instead of stillness Memories are silent They fade and lose the truth Tomorrow has nothing to offer
A Soldier’s Wife
I don’t want to be a superman but I do love, love madly. It is strange to think hadn’t you come a long I would have loved someone else- unthinkable today. When I finish too early, you smile and say it doesn’t matter but I know I can’t let you down and must make love to you again. Lucky you can’t read my thoughts, I used to be soldier and dream the way we spoke about women in the dugout. When I see a smile of heavenly satisfaction glide around your face my work is done. Two body entwined, one think of love the other about comrades in arms.
The Sad Escape.
I sat by the table, near the window, reading. A woman and her man sat on a filthy sofa, eating smoked sardines off an old newspaper. This room stank of unwashed bodies and lack of hygiene. Dry washing that should have been ironed weeks ago occupied a chair. The pair rolled their own cigarettes and had nicotine stained fingers. It was raining heavily I could not go out and felt a violent despair, like a trapped animal that attacks its rescuers.“Use fork and knife” I snapped. They both giggled. Rain had stopped I walked out, light shone out of miserable curtains…and I knew. I must leave now. Get out! It was too easy sink into apathy, and ignorance. Yet, I loved them, they were my flesh and blood, good people who had never been encouraged to seek anything better. But I must leave… and I left never to return.
Things made by man never impressed me, but the fallow land, where I live, which is going back to nature’s way does impress. On my walks I see how each plant strive towards the light, one may say, as man seeks god, but here it is not about being better or more powerful, it’s just nature. That’s way I see Eifel tower as a symbol of power, pride and vanity. But in the back of my mind an unpleasant thought arises: could it be that wars are a natural cause? Nature’s way of insuring that only the strong survives ? That peace is like fallow land, beautiful but useless?
This is really too much! I have painted her chair golden, The one she is taking to her flat in Cascais. Stabled the winter wood and covered it with a black plastic sheet. Still she goes on, wants us to go to bed at eleven when I’m watching Charles Rose. I’m fed up, better off living alone. She has gone out shopping and why is she so late coming back?
The Love Story
We live far apart The distance is getting hazy My dearest love I can still hear your heartbeat In the stillness of the night
You’re my love Green eyes clear as the ocean Tears like pearls My soul was transient back then My quest was worldly success
Give me sign Help me to see, I was blind Open my eyes So you can come into sight Before cruel time erases us
Beautiful rainbow over the valley I saw a man climb up its bow only to disappear in a symphony of colours. When the rainbow paled the man fell to earth. He is now a famous pianist and plays popular music for an adoring audience, wears a multi coloured tie and sits in a wheelchair
The Night Fall
My evening walk was interrupted by night. Keeping close the verge of the road I fell down a ditch, and saw stars as never before. A kaleidoscope of colours swiveling around and around in my head Life, we never see in daylight, was all around me, spirit shadows in a haste to find food and safety before man intruded. Knew I had caused chaos in their life, I got out of there and heard silent relief. Starry, starry night, as the song goes, trees moved and whispered scary stories about the man with the chainsaw, whether it is true there is a Paradise for trees. Wished I could tell them a tall story with a happy ending- no turning into winter woods and ashes for them, but a malevolent mule kept kicking me home as it wanted the night to itself.
Non Je Ne Regrette (Edith Piaf)
Wish it was true Regrets have made me what I’m Scars on my mind I remember my mistakes The done cannot be untied There is no healing Pain caused when briefly blinded Yet, to be woeful Is a pointless act of lament Leads to joyless self pity.
Trumpeting outside An elephant on the terrace It’s raining too The poor thing needs an umbrella Go back to sleep you’re dreaming
Dawn creeps in Got to buy bigger curtains I’m not a worm
Soldiers train hard They want to go into action Show off their skills In the art of killing enemies And civilians in their fields A dead soldier Hard training came to nothing Funereal at five A skill the army knows well. A medal on the mantelpiece
The Tenth Month
Dead leaves Blows useless in the street Once so green No one hear their despair Every garden a cemetery Fallen leaves Dance no more to spring’s tune Blow where the wind will October moon, the mortals waltz To the dirge of the vanished.
Marriage Is Great expectations Unfulfilled
The party has ended they have all gone home, the house sighs, I open windows cooling air clears away the smell of perfume and full ashtrays. Wine glasses everywhere on tables, shelves on the floor. Empties have to be thrown in the bin, and glasses have to be cleaned and put back in the cupboard. Got to do it now, I don’t want to be faced with this task tomorrow morning. I’m glad they came to my day; glad to be alone also; sad too. I’m one year older and time seems so short, the ocean of life is not endless and the horizon ends just beyond where the sun goes down.
Along the promenade at the marina, where the rich have their boats on display, the tourists have gone; mostly Portuguese people walking about this sunny October day. I have brought a camera with me, but will not take pictures of boats which look like plastic toys, shiny and had never sailed on the open sea. Yet, they lend a pretty picture to the maritime ambience. On the promenade elderly people, pretty girls and boys, in their teens, walk up and down, for a moment wished I was sixteen, but remember how painful it was to be that young, a face full of acne and timid. A lovely day, not a time for thoughts of mortality. While my wife eats an ice cream I smoke a sly cigarette and think: this is good Sunday to be alive.
It is midnight I was to meet her at nine under railways station’s clock. I waited to eleven, something might have happened, the train delayed (his was before mobile phones were invented,) I didn’t have her home number. I walked along the docks where harbour light is forever throwing itself into dark water. I threw the flowers I had bought her into the sea and saw them sink slowly into the sea only the wrapping paper floats on the surface of despair. I was seventeen it took great courage to invite her out, this humiliation and she had such a sincere smile. Why couldn’t she had said no in the first place? It was what I had expected her to do. A fog horn blare in the distance, the world knows I have been stood up. no escape if anyone asks I will have to play the clown, make a funny story to hide my sorrow for not dating a girl I thought I loved.
Is a quarreler Doesn’t accept status quo No wonder Plato Didn’t like them Alas Poets are also vain Hungry for fame Which rarely come their Way If they do meet success And get a medal They soon destroy Their official status By being Quarrelsome
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.