To Prefer Life - Poem by Oskar Hansen
To prefer life
Late at night I saw the coastline of Panama, valium and alcohol and since
the night was as a cosy blanket while stars shone with an angelic fervour.
I had poisonous enemy on the ship, her master, endlessly he found fault
with my work – night and day. - he never stopped it was like he was smitten
by hatred by my nearness, he had banned me from eating in the officers
mess room, other officers shook their heads but no one came to my defence.
I thought it was the moment to die we all die so why not chose its moment,
be the master of my fate? I heard how the ship’s bow crushed the sea into
salt spray and felt the ship’s engine through soles of my bare feet and I felt
a surge of power. I didn’t want to drown only get away from here. I could
swim ashore, and in the morning eat fresh fried fish, drink beer the locals,
be as them and live in peace. That was it a new life a break with the sad now,
only I could not get out of my chair, saw the coast of Panama vanish its light
fading like a morning dream, what was left were loneliness and the boredom
of tomorrow’s work routine. But not quite, I had won a battle, tomorrow
I was going to fight back he could do little, but live in the centre of my scorn.
To prefer life is to fight for justice even if it is in a dictator’s shadow.
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