…and that’s the way it is

a poem by Jan Oskar Hansen

Let me try, my dear, before the music of melancholy
silence me forever,
to explain why I’m leaving you
and the town of Faro which tonight,
when street lamps are casting shadows
where light doesn’t reach,
is as beautiful as you used to be
before rancour made your face into a mask of displeasure;
those days, long ago,
when we knew that no one ever loved as deeply as us

You see I have to go back to my cottage up there
where the mountains begin,
it’s my almond tree
which won’t green in winter
and flower in early spring
unless I’m there,
it’s the ancient donkey
that speaks to me
with its sensuous eyes
and expects a lump of sugar,
it’s the olive grove
this friendly army
which bear a fruit
that goes well,
with a glass of wine.

It is the dignified,
if slightly frumpy carob trees
which shelter me
when it’s pouring down,
its the unbelievable clear winter air,
yes the rain too that doesn’t gently fall
but splashes down
taking no prisoners.
Yes, all this and more
compels me to leave you
and the town
before old age takes hold
and I can’t smell the beauty of my native soil.