Favourite titles

Favourite titles
Whether it is "Redefining literary techniques and devices", "Justifying Papua New Guinea Literature", or "Translating the Bible into Anuki", these offer valuable reading for the paperless student of literature, and indeed the best sort of literary entertainment you can get out of Papua New Guinea. Check them out either on Soaba's Storyboard or The Anuki Country Press.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

My 6 Olympian nominations


The houses of Koki stand over water
wave after wave shaping in vain
their crooked posts for straightness.

The land is city’s.

And so are the men of Koki
employed as clerks, carpenters.

The women wade out to the deep
with nets. The children fight over
empty bottles along the seawall. Overhead,
gulls turn for the coast. A boy, seized
by a flash of wings upon the sea screen,
leaps skywards, laughing and dancing.

From the cliff tops, within the sky scraping
skeletons of the city’s eye, the seas rises
breaking the houses at the market bay.


for the nth student, Waigani Campus

rain clouds at 3 pm
greyed green absorb
matters of campus consciousness

walking neath slothed clouds
equatorial j.w. turner storms
neath concrete pillars
& erected sands
to the halls – lecture rooms
tutorial cellars – the floors
once swept by last semester’s
feet are again dank & inhabited
by frogs who caint leaves us alone...

the earth is laid flat
back aching
on the green of the now tired gods:
this is the only begotten
afternoon rain
laid bare & tropical before you

the rain’s a-drumming on sagothatched memoirs
a houseful of masks & tapa patterns
marx assignments & confessional testimonies
& mirrors that promise champagne
satin ecstasies/solitary lake
ghost city of the last graduates


Man Friday listens
to the surf lapping against
the hulks of foreign vessels
mooring at the sleep of the bay
and knows
he is not in that dream.

He says:
“God forbid, no.”

And he’s on land
cracking hauga-nut shells
with patient hands and book-
keeping eyes, the gathered nuts
gleaming greenstones and abira rocks
in the sun.

He will circle the island for signs
of storms and high tides. He will
save turtles and others stranded
by an outgoing tide. He will comb
the island once more and cycle
into town, to the check the balance
of the day.


once an artist went overseas
his father died in his absence
& was buried in the village

he followed a rainbow upon his return
& came to a cemetery
he dug in search of reality
till he broke his father’s skull
to wear its fore-half as a mask

try it/look thru those eye-holes
see the old painting/view the world
in the way the dead had done


A face, averted slightly
blames the tears on smoke
from burning blue gum wood
the green kindling bundled
one day, to flame up
the pot on fire. Humming
fingers scoop up sago crumbs
and the evening sets
in, firmly.

The woman by the earth
oven croon tunes
of sugar cane days
and blackbirding voyages.

They come, one after the other
over barbwire fences, and on
dancing feet, their teeth
grinning lanterns in the dark.
Flames light up the settlement.


...and us, air, in the morning
                     - Salvatore Quasimodo

Let me live in your sanctuary
                     - Psalm 61:4

We come as our own visitor
To the sanctuary
Leaves that fall
Gird the season red

Doves fly by
Past black and clawing branches
Past burnt out woods and hills

Our arrival is a song
Of a forgotten priest
Piercing the silence
Of this sanctuary

Or mounds of earth rising
The pulse of yearning rapping
Along the furrowed desolation
Of a devastated landscape

In this long-awaited high savannah
The slumbering moura is stirring
The kwamra's dreams are waking
And leaves that were written dead
Are waking deeper than the roots
That penned them. Each cotyledon
Each tentative bud, saves the day.
The earth stands still, mauve-
Colored and olive, a chalice
Before the morning sun.

The earth is the ultimate
In our song of the womb:
The final grace that is mother.
Tall. Graceful. Elegant.
She embraces and shields us
Shows us the wounds at the side
At the feet and hands, where
The world has died. We sing praises
For her great strength, for the bread
She breaks; and the living spring
We drink from the cup of her hands.

From KWAMRA: a season of harvest. Published by The Anuki Country Press, Port Moresby, 2000. 60+ pages.

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