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09 October 2016


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Fr Roche, This is a good idea and I agree with Phil, this kind of PNG writing should be entered for the Crocodile Prize for Heritage Writing sponsored by the Cleland family.

I am not a good translator but I will certainly talk with two high school teachers who have been recruited to teacher culture in our schools here. They are both members of our newly formed Enga Writers Association.

I have not seen the work of late Lawrence Kambao. But former Provincial Administrator and prolific Engan Writer, late Kundapen Talyaga published similar work in his book ‘Enga Enda Nemongo' with the Papua Pocket Poets series.

I republished some of the chants in my recent book ‘Can’t Sleep’ because I felt his work could be forgotten together with the Enga Enda Nemongo or courting chants of old.

Here is part of the chants..

The First Enda Nemongo chant

Wambao Ongo:

Odee lelyo ae
Wanaku imba ae, nee nakate, nee nakoea ae,
Pii late ae, pii lakoae, tapu pateae, tapu pakoe ae
Namba wane ae, Kondolaipa wane o
Endagina Opo waipa lamo ao-
Takangena ae Tapu wai lamo ae
Opale ange ao, male panda ae
Lyuna panda lapo ae
Ipuu lapino ae, ipuu katalo
Opo lao lawae, apa lawape
Lyaa waluu ae, kambu walu mende ae
Lao katalamo –Daape

Wee: Pakili kinda puna gome,
Kiagoaka pyoo nyeleno – leepe lee,
Masoaka ipamo lao lepe
Pakili kenda wae

The Fist Meri Singsing poetry (English version)

The 1st One

Oh, here I begin
Girl, you’ll eat, eating will never end
Girl you’ll talk, words will never end
Walking, walking in the plains –
You will always hurry on your way.
Me a two-minded boy of the fair-land boys
Like my mother’s only Opo plant
And my father’s only Tapu plant
This you’ve asked me to come
At your side, at the corner of this long house.
So, I have obeyed.
Tell me, then, what you have for me
That you promised me, by your facial invitations
Of moving lips and twisting nose –
Which you have been enticing for so long – and-
Truly I mean it.

Song sung from the man’s side

You the girls of Pakili land
Twas you sent the invitation
That I was to be your visitant
But are you complaining that
I came without your request?
You the girls of the Pakili land,
I accepted to your request
You, the girls of the Pakili land (repeat)

This sounds like a perfect entry for the 'heritage writing' category in the Crocodile Prize competition sponsored by the Cleland family. The entries would need an English and a Language rendition.

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