jan oskar hansen
Triptych - Poem by jan oskar hansen
Summer with my mother.
I t was the best summer I ever had or can remember,
mother and I had cycled to the beach, that is,
I was riding pillion. It was a hot day mother, a strong
swimmer swam, to the small islet nearby, it wasn’t
far, I sat on her back, like a little monkey people said
and laughed. Later we ate sandwiches she had made
before we left and tepid tea from the thermos flask.
She gave me coppers and sent me to buy ice-cream
it was a long way off and going back the ice-cream
melted. I ate mine of mother’s there was only a wet
cone left. I must have fallen asleep. Mother woke me
said it was time to cycle home, I was very happy that
evening that when my sister called me a mother’s boy
I didn’t mind but said I knew who her boyfriend was.
Before going to bed I told mother that I would never
leave her; she gave me a hug, and that was great, she
wasn’t much into hugging people. Then she had to go
back to work, putting sardines into tins and smelling
of fish when she tired came home.
Mother and the Singer
I first heard Edith Piaf on the radio in 1954,
her songs were translated into Norwegian
and mother used to sing them when peeling
potatoes or frying fish cakes.
Today I came across Edit Piaf, on the net,
singing her heart out, I thought she looked
like my mother, and I hadn’t been thinking
of her for a long time, small, old fashion
and ungainly, but with a big heart.
So there I sat riding pillion on a great voice
back to a time that had glimmer of gold in
songs and in books to relieve days of fear,
and the insanity of poverty
Mother’s Last Day.
When I came to the nursing home mother
fretted she wanted me to drive her down
to the bay she wanted to see the sea again.
I was getting wintry but the nurse brought
some extra blankets and of we drove.
It was a blustery day and sea in the bay was
white topped, she sat there for a long time
saying nothing, then she spoke of her father,
who had been a master of a schooner and
sailed all the way to USA and Argentina.
Going back we stopped at a café ate Danish
pastry and drank hot chocolate, she also
smoked a forbidden cigarette. At the home,
she didn’t want anything to eat, had been
to a café with her son.
I sat with her till she fell asleep, they rang
early in the morning, she was the last link,
with the past, snow covered flowers on her
coffin, her time had run out, from now on
I had to walk the rest of the way alone
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