#44 Poem: Sorcery Related Violence in PNG

Light of the world

She, the light of the world.
He watched her rise and set.

They met at church as most do.

And then again on bus rides to school.
Then at markets. Then in shops.
On Facebook. Through text. Over phone calls.

Rising together till she fell.

But she refused his advances one day.
So he stained her cloak with fear one night.

Her sun never rose there after.
As she lived by the fear of light.

She burned her cloak, to hide the stains
When his family paid the five hundred kina.

Forgive and forget, her Pastor prayed
God punishes because we are all sinners.

And he sniffed at some white stuff.
Thought he was the right stuff.
And clenched at his heart one day.

– Myocardial Infarction
The coroners transcription.
Was all that was needed to say.

That’s when they came for her.

In the thick of her fear,
Extinguishing her light from the world.

The lawyers, the police.
The accountants, the priests.

They chanted our ancestors words.

You, the girl who witched his heart.
The doctor said “you broke his heart”.

You deserve to die, the witches way,
The girl who lived, by fear of light.

-Hans Lee

Commentary

I wrote this poem with a lot of hate and disgust at a part of Papua New Guinean society that I can’t reconcile with who we are as a modern nation. For all we strive to be – holding on to our culture and customs and celebrating it – we are also still held back by the fear and deeply entrenched superstition that we harbour in the undertow of our conversations. I don’t mind being controversial here because someone has to be.

Something is seriously munted as shit if superstition is being treated as grounds for a criminal offence. Continue reading “#44 Poem: Sorcery Related Violence in PNG”

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#14: Beware the Tropical Breeze

Destructive beauty is elegant and wild. I really love the juxtaposition of living in the tropics because we know that the beauty here is a product of the destructive nature that the tropics can unleash. One day all is peaceful and serene, then the next the winds of change arrive and change happens as natural as time in tandem.

Continue reading “#14: Beware the Tropical Breeze”

#10: Introvert (Inspired by Alex Monckton, Introvert)

Introvert
Source: Alex Monckton, Flickr

This poem was inspired by Alex Monckton, a Cairns based photographer and poet. The image is titled Introvert, which I thought was quite fitting. As a caption to that image, Alex wrote the following “Seemingly reluctant to reveal its full beauty all at once, a flower slowly opens petal by petal”.

To think that the flower is the Introvert really illustrates alluring diatomic juxtaposition in my head. More dominant then all else, the flower and the introvert seem incompatible, but at the same time they do not have to be. Introverts can be the biggest personalities and prettiest wall flowers when they chose to be – the latter, quite importantly so. It is only when they become labelled as wall flowers and big personalities, that they are unable to perform the part. For us, it is all a facade. We are what we want to be, when we want to be, situation dictating.

Thinking along those lines inspired the poem below.

Continue reading “#10: Introvert (Inspired by Alex Monckton, Introvert)”

#11 Trading my stori

This poem was inspired by a work trip to Wewak, in the East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea. It is partly written in Tok Pisin and in English. It was written for a particular audience and a particular purpose so no attempt at translation has been made. This also marks my first attempt at writing a poem in Tok Pisin.

The constant rhythm changes in the second stanza (english) were intentional to illicit a conflicted psycho-emotional response from the reader/ audience that ‘something is not right here’. Jumping between Tok Pisin and English was used to show the two worlds I constantly find myself confronted by. I find myself being modern and western but at the same time, looking back over my shoulder to a world I cannot negate nor forget; it is non-western but complete. 

Continue reading “#11 Trading my stori”