Big kina hole in evidence to Tribunal
Mood of hopelessness descends on PNG

Yesterday we dreamed


An entry in The Crocodile Prize

It was not so long ago
less even than a lifetime or so
when our nation was so young
and our history had just begun

Then, they stood them all
Forefathers tall
and blessed us
with an anthem song.

We forward went, hither sent
each tribe and clan
in this proud Melanesian land
Every son and daughter born

United we did stand
with transient shackles shorn
as a new day did dawn

Did then we dare to dream
and transcend as one
Have our ancestors been told
how far we have come

What do we tell of
what praise, what glory
that children will hear
as pleasant bedtime stories

Our Guardians now indulge
in self-serving histrionics
while idle sons
and beleaguered daughters
survive on informal economics.

Where now, the integrity of Chiefs
that they may bless us truly
where too, the vigor of youth
that will ensure a victory

How now our mothers and children
bear the brunt of brutality
when we fail to act rightly.

What future lies in our hands
Who will fulfill this people’s destiny

O arise all ye sons of this land
Let us sing of our joy to be free…
Only yesterday we dreamed
Let us sleep no more.


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Michael Dom

I'm often surprised how far this poem has infiltrated into modern thinkers and their discussions in PNG, without the due recognition to the body of literature it has come from.

One characteristic of a modern literate and literature appreciating society is their ability to recognize, interact with and demonstrate appreciation of the products of literary pursuit. More than just quoting words taken from Facebook posts.

I have seen and read glimpses of this poem above in a few places, but am yet to read a decent quote.

That's all good to me. I'd rather avoid the egotism, except that I am a poet and it is in my nature to sense the readership, even if it is only hinted at.

Perhaps we need to quote the works of dead leaders from foreign lands in order to be 'modern thinkers' in a literate society.

Remember this all those who would be: A leader knows a leader.

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