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Kisim bek kantri

| Tok Pisin poetry followed by a free translation

Mama karim bebi nogat inap marasin
Pikinini lusim skul mekim raskol pasin
Mama laik go maket rot kondisen aut
Pablik Sevent laik wok pawa black aut

Olsem wanem nau kantri blong mi PNG?
Planti  kainkain hevi nogat sevis deliveri
Graun blong yumi oil, gas na silver gol pulap
Why ol pikinini hangere taim ol memba bel solap?

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The Road Forgotten

The road
Construction workers on the Hagus to Haku section of the Buka ringroad in Bougainville that was neglected for many years until prime minister James Marape visited Bougainville recently and allocated funds to renew it


The road forgotten had been found
Gone are those pot holes rest in peace
Find your place among those souls
We shall weep nor whine no more

For though we complained
We know it was not your fault,
Through good and bad times
You still took us through

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Our land so dear

Dennis Belas - "And whilst we wait in hope and sorrow/We cannot avoid but more want to borrow/There’s nothing more to save our land/The endless trap just seems to grow"


You come from nowhere to our land
And think that we don’t understand?
We are not blind we just cannot bow
For you to steal our gold and sand

Don’t tell my people we don’t know
You make promises nothing to show
You rob our land and nothing more
Leaving behind all these dirty flow

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Give back PNG

"All those riches we can't take back today / So better to stop giving them away"


There was a young leader named Marape
Who served in O'Neill's bagarapment
But when push came to shove
And he had had more than enough
He took back PNG without foment

If the aim now is to keep taking back
I don't know why we are being so slack
Because Beijing doesn't care
And Canberra won't dare
Tell us how to be Christian, rich and Black

And where are those God fearing leaders
Who bowed and scraped for the APEC bleeders?
Seems Jehovah is least on their minds
When they sign for more logging, more mines
They keep selling us all down the river

"But Marape says take back PNG / And then hands out all the car keys"

Since the last PM taunted our laws
And sold everything behind closed doors
All those riches we can't take back today
So better to stop giving them away
And treating our people like paupers

But Marape says take back PNG
And then hands out all the car keys
For Flying Spurs and Maseratis
Look instead at what he will do
If his words and promises are empty

Warriors long taim bipo
"Ask with sincerity, who really are we? / And how is it we keep our Black history?"

Now when we say take back PNG
And cheer Independence with glee
There are difficult things we must do
Ask with sincerity, who really are we?
And how is it we keep our Black history?

Stop taking and give back PNG.

If you love her, treat her right


Nowadays many young people say love is old fashioned and, when bad times come, they divorce. I composed this poem after hearing a song from Lenny LeBlanc, If you love her, treat her right’ - PG

Love is not a candle that extinguishes in the rain,
Love is the everlasting that burns forever in heart,
Love it is that stays whenever strong winds blow,
And even when it hurts, you never let go.

Continue reading "If you love her, treat her right" »

Rest in peace, our captain

Captain Philip Emeck
Captain Philip Emeck


I wrote this poem as a condolence message for the late captain Philips Emeck’s funeral, and also in memory of his untimely death on Friday 13 September 2019. He came from Enga, the first pilot from Laiagam to fly helicopters. He died when his aircraft crashed in a strong wind - PG

Philip was a senior captain, to fly around the world
Always in a cheerful mood, rarely did he frown
He was our genius pilot, ours and all the people’s
His ethos left behind as a legacy for the children

Continue reading "Rest in peace, our captain" »



This unpleasantness again I fear is here
An unwelcome guest into my house 
Who stands still, quietly, at my back 
On tired floors squeaking like a mouse
Caresses me soft behind my neck 
The whispered sounds burn in my ears 
And chill the blood coursing through my heart 
Causing my eyes to look behind my skull
A fruitless search that piques no sense
Only to see and hear nothing instead
But this unwanted visitor’s presence 
Who still follows and will never part

The prison officer’s last parade

Nara - funeral paradeALEXANDER NARA

PORT MORESBY - It is now getting on for three years since that funeral one wet January afternoon in 2017.

Time was the thief he always suspected her to be; taking his friends, taking his wife; then taking him.

Sorrow crept at the corners of his mouth, dragging them down, but he held back the tears as the white hearse purred its way slowly up the narrow road leading to the Bomana prison gates.

Continue reading "The prison officer’s last parade" »

Missionaries with vision

Joseph Tambure
Joseph Tambure


Missionaries with vision on a mission
People with vision on a mission
To tame and conquer from dark to light
To teach, encourage and impart
From end to end of the world

Missionaries with vision and passion
Nothing so sweet than vision fulfilled
Leaving behind comfort and luxury
Pushing through unknown to reach the goal
Missionaries with vision on a mission

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Bride Price

Bride priceSAMUEL MORI

My mother was bought,
With items traditional dearly sought,
Big fat pigs, their tusks and other shells,
Many an item from far coastal lands,
For these were things of value,
To the fathers of me and you

My wife was bought,
With items less traditionally sought,
Money and beer,
Many an item of modern-times dear,
For these are things of value,
To people like me and you

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A Crabby Old Man

Crabby old manPORAP GAI

This very old man, aged 104 years when the photograph was taken, came from Rabaul and had lived through two world wars. He shared much knowledge with me and taught me to live longer on earth. He complained that too few young men would learn from the old men

What do you see in me young man,
When you’re looking at me?
A crabby old man, not very wise
Uncertain of habit and slow to respond
Seeming not to see the things that you do

Is that all that you see?
Then open your eyes, look at me
What do you expect from a crabby old man?
Forever losing the shoes on his legs
I'm a very old man and nature is cruel

What now do I hope for?
Dark times with me and wife now dead
I think of the good old days
And the love I knew now lost
I look at the future and shudder with dread

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A Voice for West Papua


Hey, l bet you look to the West
Beyond that mountain crest
And see far beyond that ridge
Do you see across that valley?
Smoke and flames rising?
Raging upon the western skies?

Hey, I bet you stop by and think
About what lies far beyond
Our shared mountain ridges,
Reflect upon the bond we share
And you shall feel yet for sure
They pain they cannot bear

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The Fall of the Great Warrior

Vengeance is Ours (The New Yorker)SAMUEL MORI

The warrior great in his battle gear,
An axe, a bow, a mighty spear
He stood proud and bloody and tall,
For at his feet did many fall

The hausman fire burned bright that night
And they sang of the warrior’s courage and might
A beast in battle, oh that could be
That the enemy clans could clearly see

The next day dawned bright and pure,
And on the field they readied for war
The earth shook at his fierce war cry
And the enemy trembled, their end drew nigh

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A Smiling Baby

Porap Gai and his nephew Jonathan AsaPORAP GAI

When a baby smiles, it puts the world on pause and we forget all our troubles. We feel at ease and enjoy life. The picture shows me with my older brother’s son, Jonathan Asa. When I feel hopeless, Jonathan gives me hope with his smile - PG

I see it now, baby
That grin from cheek to cheek
The natural way you show yourself
Your smiling face - you meek

A bundle full of love
A bundle soft to touch
An unwritten page of purity
Your heart is shown outside

Your smile is that of beauty
showing you inward to the world
Never lose your precious gift from God
The essence what you’re about

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I was abducted early in the morning when I was on my way to school. I was grabbed from behind and wrestled to the ground, a knee pinning my neck, my face in earth soaked from the morning dew.

The attack came suddenly from a dark patch of shrubbery near the track. I was caught off guard and could not react in time to fend it off.

“Be still or you will be in grave danger,” a man’s voice warned.

I felt his stale breath on my neck. It stank of an unwashed, unclean mouth. It was nauseating.

Continue reading "Abducted" »

The Internet Forest

Internet jungleSIMON DAVIDSON

The internet is a forest,
Not a forest of teak or balsa trees,
But a forest of viral networks myriad.

The internet is a forest,
Running on mega speed cables,
Freighting megabytes of information.

The internet is a forest,
A forest of possible paths,
To link myriads of computers.

The internet is a forest,
An information super highway,
A portal to any computer anywhere.

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Airways Hotel

"dark and cool / spreading out under / an old DC3"


Lyrics of a tribute to one of Port Moresby’s favourite hotels, along with
another great six new Simon Jackson songs you can listen to in full here

caught the drillers plane
from Lae
bumping down onto
a white hot
Mosbi runway
still looks just the same
but no one's at the gate

didn't think I'd ever be
coming home again
I get the strangest sense 

past the wires
drooping in heat
think I remember this street
into the

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Inspector Metau tells: The crimes & non-crimes of PNG

Inspector Hari Metau 2
"If you are going after organised crime in PNG, Inspector  Metau advised, start at the top"


TUMBY BAY - I was talking to Inspector Hari Metau the other day. He’s retired now but he always has something interesting to say.

We had met at the Beachside Brasserie for a coffee. Hari is addicted to good highland coffee and can’t live without his daily fix.

We got to talking about crime and all the varied forms it takes and how Papua New Guinean crime sometimes tends to differ from crimes committed in other countries.

Hari has a kind of classification system for Papua New Guinean crime.

He divides it into three categories. The first is organised crime; the second is disorganised crime; and the third is what he calls ‘other’.  Of the three the last category interests him the most.

According to Hari organised crime is an illegal activity carried out by mafia-like groups.

In Papua New Guinea, he explained, organisation and coordination are not natural traits. It’s got something to do with the Melanesian mindset, he reckoned, but it’s something too complicated to explain over a couple of cups of coffee.

Continue reading "Inspector Metau tells: The crimes & non-crimes of PNG" »

A Warrior Dances with Arrows

A warrior dancesPORAP GAI

Now let us go and dance with arrows,
This thing that death to us shall bring,
Says the warrior.

The warrior's look is as a thunderous rain-cloud,
         While the arrows drop as continuous sleet,
A dance of heaven, a dance of hell.

The dance that mortals dance so well,
The warrior’s victorious with unwounded body,
So well the thickness of mail protected him.

With bow let warrior win kina, with bow to battle,
With warrior’s bow come victors after hot encounter,       
         This dance warrior dances, this dance is his own.

         There where the hero speeds hither and thither,
When warrior armed with mail, seeking the heat of battle,
May the two bow-ends, starting swift asunder, scatter.

The bow brings grief and sorrow to the foeman,
Armed with the bow may he subdue all regions,
Finally warrior knows he danced the dance of death.

The photograph shows an Engan warrior killed in the battle by arrows, one of a number from the Kandep District who died as a result of election violence between 2007 and 2017. I witnessed the tragedy of young men losing their lives - PG

Hitler’s Folly

"Then Hitler made the century’s blunder / He believed in Aryanism with all his soul"


Führer’s Germany had everything.
It had the world at its fingertips.
It had the best schools and the best brains.
Einstein and many brilliant minds were there.

Germany was on top of the world then.
Führer’s Germany was the industrial hub,
And most things were made in Germany.
It was the market leader of the world.

Then Hitler made the century’s blunder.
He believed in Aryanism with all his soul,
He believed Germans to be the super race.
Dreamed of world conquest and domination.

He felt Germany was divine and invincible.
He waged war against many others.
Then war spread to the entire world
And it became a disastrous adventure.

Continue reading "Hitler’s Folly" »

Mother Earth

Simon Davidson and Sili Somoe
Sili Somoe (right) with fellow poet and mentor, Simon Davidson


Today is International Earth Day

Mother Earth,
Fashioned by infinite intelligence,
But in primordial chaos;
Laid formless and uninhabited.

Mother Earth,
Your liberation arrived;
When pit darkness vanished,
And dawn’s light had emanated.

Mother Earth,
Crafted by infinite intelligence;
A Trinity spoke you into existence,
You came out of a chaotic ocean.

Mother Earth,
Everything came out of you.
The habitats for a myriad lives,
Creatures and unnumbered species.

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Work to Serve and Not for Vanity

Porap Gai
Porap Gai - "The humble will be exalted in due time"


All mortals have an innate desire to shine.
Everyone aims for positions of grandeur.
To be elevated higher is a dream for all.
And to be honoured is a dream come true.

But to crave and seek positions grand,
For one’s own honour and fame is vanity.
Self-gain breeds pride and myriad ills
In the end bringing the soul to ruin.

Lucifer’s vanity was in this regard.
He, Lucifer, pursued a higher role,
Wanting to rule as God, dethroning God.
Pride filled his heart and he was cast to hell.

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The Death of Decency - Part II

Death of decency (Medium)MARIE-ROSE SAU

The music started playing years ago
When the sun stopped shining if you know what I mean
Darkest cloud hover and cover over us
Lies are worn with golden belts to church
The greedy wear pride with honour

The shameless with hearts as black as the night
They run around in deceit on wheels
Whetting mouths, owl eyes that prey like eagles
Plucking the innocent from their nests
To devour shamelessly

But is it a norm that we forget the polaroids on the sidewalks
And face the portraits hanging on walls
All cussing and fussing to fight the bigger fight
Forsaking our mother’s plight?
We truly are a sorry sight

Continue reading "The Death of Decency - Part II" »

Dancing Kundu Drums


Kundu restless, awakes from long idleness
Dusted off, shells rattling, glistening with new fruit oil
Sending messages far and wide, across the hills and valleys
That the dancing kundu drums approach
Kundu is out for a long night's dancing

People submit to the call of kundu
But to give voice to kundu, they must follow rules
Only the purified and strict are able to partake
Kundu demands respect, adoration and loyalty
And diverse people and decorations assembled

Dancers separated in a secluded house
Coarse voices sweetened, songs much rehearsed
Attire and colours known to that all will follow
Now is the time to illuminate and purify
Not a moment for intrusion, weakness and disorder

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What is love


“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. There is always some madness in love but there is also always some reason in madness” - Unknown

What is love
When he tells me he likes me but he can’t wait
What is love
When he already has another woman in his bait
What is love
When he can’t tell me the truth after the ‘yes’ bit.
What is love
When she is the cause of every stinky bate!

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The language in gifts

Kula exchange of the Trobriand Islands
Kula exchange of the Trobriand Islands


In Melanesia’s reciprocal culture most ancient,
Gifts exchanged oft’n speak a hidden voice,
Of the value of the reciprocated receiver.

You are a hero, if you receive a cow,
A swindler, if your receive a swine,
A conman, if you receive a mumu of corn.

The recipient of the gift must know,
The language of the reciprocated gift,
If the gift is from the lower cluster -

It is a rebuke, language of disdain,
That often belies the reciprocated gift,
Given to the receiver of the gift.

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Porgera ‘Mama Gold’

The Porgera underground mine produces 1.4 million tonnes of ore a year and is one of the 10 richest in the world. It lies at the top of Porgera Valley, home of the Ipili people in Enga Province


This is a miner’s poem. It’s a recollection of many of their thoughts - mainly on the welfare side. It’s a Papua New Guinean story from the mining industry, which is the so called backbone of the PNG economy, a story of where the real gold comes from. ‘Mama Gold’ is a term used by the Porgera locals for the fool's gold, which is pyrite. It looks like gold but is not actual gold - DAT

Kirap early 4am, finish lon 7pm late
12hours max you givim olgeta like no other
Some day our children will look back sadly of these times
When recorded on an history book
Where was the welfare?
Even when mine workers pay the highest personal tax
No car, no holiday trip, no good house, you’d have to sacrifice some other basic costs as an option
They’d say we didn’t build anything either
But only dug a big hole here
Poor old bugger
On Hire Fire, Hire Fire
We are just another worker
They can get another when they wanna
Poor old miner!

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What a leader does

Traditional chief, Trobriand Islands


A leader is the head,
The guardian of trust,
Placed on him by many.

A leader sees ahead,
A million miles farther
Than the followers.

A leader thinks ahead,
A million ideas at times,
At the speed of light.

A leader reads ahead,
To keep abreast of times,
To stay ahead of the trend.

A leader exercises ahead,
To keep the body primed,
To stay in shape and fit.

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The Return of the Prodigal


Prodigal Son (LDS Living)He left, his deep pockets full of gold,
And went to a far country of sin,
Spending his substance in a gambling bin,
Squandering the gifted treasures of old.

Hired himself to work in a piggery,
To get the food to appease his hunger,
To stop his dear life from being torn asunder.
The slops of the rich man became his eatery.

From this lowest estate he regained his senses,
Remembering his father house of wealth,
The life of great happiness and health,
The abundance of what his father possessed.

So he rose from the pig bin to return to his home,
And met his father’s humility and sweetest welcome.

Piece of Land

(Oakland Institute)JOSEPH TAMBURE

A priceless commodity
Passed through generations
Born and died on, blood and sweat spilt on
Gives status and precious worth
Defended and tended to provide our security

Without land, a people homeless
Nomads wondering alone and baseless
No name, just shadows in the air
Victimised and abused; poor and ignored
It’s a worthless life without land

A piece of land owned
Through inheritance, gift or sale
Holds everything we need in life
People steal and kill for this priceless land
Giving contentment, security, home and life

Corruption, the Desolation of our Souls


Corruption, like a cancer, is eating our nation,
Dwindling our coffers and desolating our souls,
Forcing obsolescence on great moral pillars,
Spinning our country towards destruction.

The root cause of this plague --- insane greed,
Insatiable leaders of our resource rich land,
With inflated egos and bloated ambition,
Believing they need all for themselves to feed.

They had a moral choice to a moral deal,
To avert our nation from venality and greed,
To stem the tide of rampant damage.
To live in adherence to a moral ideal.

By integrity, they could build an ethical base,
Through morality, they could remake the nation.

Foreigner Wants, and Wants


Foreigner wants my mountain
That’s my hunting ground
Foreigner wants my river
But that’s my water to drink and wash
Foreigner wants my trees
That’s my firewood and timber for house
Foreigner wants, and wants more

Foreigner wants my swamp
That’s my fish and crocodiles
Foreigner wants my bush
But that’s my sago and kunai grass
Foreigner wants my minerals
That’s my sacred birthright
Foreigner wants, and keeps wanting

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