#68 Tok Pisin Poetry: Where Have All The Bataflais Gone?

Where Have All The Bataflais Gone?

Lo’ citi* ol igat olgeta samting
Lo’ citi ol i no sot lo wanpla samting

Igat rot, igat wara, igat kapa haus
Igat lo, igat stoa,igat haus sik na skul

Pulim ol man meri i lusim bus giraun ikam
Pulim ol ikam sindaun lo’ bikples taun
Na lusim ol samting blo’ ples giraun
Lo wokim citi bai igat olgeta samting

Na citi bai i nonap sot lo wanpla samting
Bai olgeta mangalim** nating nating
Olsem na citi ol givim nem “Beautiful”
Tasol “Beautful” blo’ em i woklo’ lus nating nating

Ol lip blo’ diwai hat lo’ holim strong
Pundaun wan wan lo antap i kam daun
Namel lo’ ol, em ol i pundaun tu
Wanpla wing, narapla wing, na liklik binatang tu

Samting blo giraun blo’ pulim ai blo’ ol lain
I lus nating na nau nogat moa binatang.
Citi igat, na igat, na igat, planti samting
Tasol lo tete mi hat lo painim wanpla bataflai

 

by Hans Lee

*Citi- Tok Pisin spelling is Siti

**Mangalim – really desire or envy something

 

Commentary:

In this poem, I really tried to ask a question plainly ‘Where have the bataflais gone?’ Something I learned early on in my writing journey was that a piece did not start on the first line. It starts with the title. Similar to performance poetry, a piece starts when the performer takes the stage, so in that vein, it carries forth the reasoning that a written poem should start at the first word.

The rest of the poem explores this idea of the urban environmental malaise under the pressures of urbanisation. I decided to use Tok Pisin to localise the content. More to that, I use the ideas of leaving the village (ples) to come to the urban environment (bikples taun) as part in the third stanza. I did that because the first two stanza’s are there to give the reader an idea of what these internal rural-urban migrants envisage the city (citi) to be.

I’ve littered many techniques in this poem, some of which I am still working to perfect. If you can, try spot the stanza where I introduce this idea of the unbalancing seesaw. That’s what I call the point in the poem or story where an idea is introduced that unbalances the poem.

Note I have used citi here instead of the accurate siti to give my non-Tok Pisin readers a hint about the context of the poem.

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#40 My Poetry in 2017: Caffeinated Sex, PNG and Cairns

I want to end this year with a look back on my writings and musings throughout the year, marking the first year that I spent understanding how best to ‘tell ones story’, as it is often the hardest thing to do.

Though I have tries exploring different forms of writing, I have enjoyed the voice of poetry as a medium for story telling so here are some of the poems from this year.

Performing Sex Poetry
Continue reading “#40 My Poetry in 2017: Caffeinated Sex, PNG and Cairns”

Part2/2: Ptsh. F*#% Off mate. “Parking might not be as important to restaurants.”

In a recent piece, I spelled out that I had grown accustomed to owning a vehicle in Cairns. Not a lot has changed. I still need a car, maybe more so now since I sold my car and live a fair way out of the CBD.

It was with a tad bit of bitterness then when I chanced upon a piece in the The Conversation written by Professor Barbara T. H. Yen reporting on her research with a team of scholars from Griffith University.

Continue reading “Part2/2: Ptsh. F*#% Off mate. “Parking might not be as important to restaurants.””