Oh how he mourned
The death of his valley
The possum and the parrot
No more but dust and oil
No land, no soil to till or toil
King Narungsi he became
To escape the stark reality
His mind did flip to learn
Six feet beneath his feet
He never could own
Thousand profanities he hurled
The government and company
have stolen my land, he sang
as he roamed the land he loved
Never could he ever find solace
Like headless chooks we run around
After money and greatness
Buried in vanity, blind to reality
Yes our kings didn’t wear crowns
To be seen or heard from afar
Fare thee well Anthony
In the land of eternal rest
Your ancestors dance for joy
To greet you on the shores of Tutueu
Where all spirits are free and equal.
After completing Grade 10 he went to Passam National High School in the East Sepik Province and then on to UPNG to do a foundation year for an Arts Degree Program in 1980.
“I never completed it due my wild and carefree ways which including binging and missing lectures for the second half of the year,” Chris reminisces. “I was excluded due to low marks and went home to Bougainville. For two years I remained jobless and finally was accepted for power station cadet operator training by BCL.”
Chris’s unit provided power to the mine and, although the pay was very good, he found the work environment noisy and dirty and the work monotonous, so he transferred to become a personnel officer.
Chris recalls the swift transition Bougainville had gone through – “I grew up with the change from an idyllic island to a mining place, bustling with all sorts of activity. I was still at work when the troubles started which led to the closure of the mine. I was one of the last people to stop work after repatriating everyone.”
After peace returned, Chris worked with the Australian led Peace Monitoring Group. It was here he discovered a talent for writing. “I began to write stories and articles in the Nius Bilong Peace, a weekly newsletter carrying news and information about the progress of the peace process.
“I have written poems in the past but never thought to publish them. I have thought about writing a book but I don’t yet have the right frame of mind and time to sit quietly and let my imagination take off.”
Chris is a firm believer that what makes a good writer is a voracious reader. And he ahs an unusual poetic technique: “Sometimes when I am about to doze off to sleep a thought may come into my mind and I get up and write it down before I forget. That is how poems find me. I don’t just write them.”
In more recent times, Chris has worked as a press officer to Papua New Guinea's Minister for Communications and Information Technology. But just a few days ago he was promoted to Second Secretary in the Ministry, which is based in Port Moresby.
“I love writing; it’s fun and I enjoy it,” he says. “There is so much to write about. But to do a good poem, I really have go into some kind of a trance. That’s very challenging, the transportation into deeper level of consciousness.”