Vivian Hansen

Vivian Hansen is a Calgary poet and activist.  She has run poetry workshops for the John Howard Society/Inn From the Cold Literacy initiatives.  Her fiction and nonfiction has appeared in many anthologies, most recently in The Madwoman in the Academy  and Writing the Terrain.  She has recently edited a collection of poetry entitled Rubbing-Stone: A Nose Hill Anthology, to be published by Passwords Enterprises in 2012. Her chapbook of poetry Never Call It Bird: the Melodies of Aids came out in 1998.  Her first full-length book of poetry Leylines of My Flesh was published by Touchwood Press in 2002.  In 2004, she published Angel Alley, a chapbook about the victims of Jack the Ripper. She has just completed her MFA in Creative Writing with the University of British Columbia.

A Bitter Mood of Clouds (excerpt from the longer poem)

Dr.Sand is cautious…
His work is done behind shut doors at the Rigshospital.
Perhaps he is afraid of the Nazis.
for himself, for Anne, who will become Arne.
They are hunting Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, every
body who exists on the margin of tolerance.
They threaten like the very roar of Thor
against all the sea-green hiding places.
Dr. Sand fears that if he fashions
a new shell for Anne now,
her new sex will endanger her,
lift her like a bloodied boar to the Germans.
Anne has hidden for 40 years inside a dress.
The masquerade can continue,
until Dr. Sand                                    feels it is safe                    to shape-shift.
 Anne is at home
with the comforting presence of the bog in Frøslev.
Knows the warmth of her mother’s arms.
She can still find work as a maid, wait out the war-hunt.

Verðandi removes the joy of her pink dress,
sleeks a sea-green dancing mist over her limbs.
Enters the bog slowly, fearlessly,
Sinks into cool depths, the old mud urging her downward.
for now, she will call herself a sacrifice.
Emerge again
before peat is burned for fuel.

Birds © 2012 Calgary Spoken Word Society