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In light of such wisdom, I am found wanting


Dedicated to Russell Soaba’s Story Board

There was a battered old kerosene lamp
of which my bubu had inordinate pride
He kept it lit at his bedside mat
besides the firelight at night
I’d always wondered why he’d bothered
to keep that relic of times long past
He’d always wondered why I’d ask
for his purpose seemed sure enough
And although my MagLite made him gasp
he said,  “Such things will come to pass”.

Awash in fire and lamplight both
we’d sit together of a night
ruminating each on the other’s plight
Mine modern –carefree, careless curiosities
His ancient –careworn, careful custodianship

On those brightly lit city streets
of which I had inordinate pride
Electric bulbs burn overhead
besides the television light at night
Too tired to ponder, why even bother
to regard such technological badges
Those wondrous gizmo’s and cool gadgets
for my purpose seemed sure enough
And although my modernity makes me laugh
he said, “Such things will come to pass”.

Awash in streetlamps and headlight beams both
there are no quiet sitting places
Every rambling soul has a lonely plight
In a brightly lit city with its haunted inhabitants
or a village hut darkened by my bubu’s ghost

Published in the Writer’s Forum of The National, 8 July 2011 (reproduced here with some editing).  You can visit the Story Board, "views and opinions on PNG literature", at


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Michael Dom

Good grief, that's the decade.

This poem needs a new audience.

And PNG literature is forging ahead in creative output but not delivery to audience.

Michael Dom

Trip down memory lane...

We have delivered a few books now Phil, with you and Keith at the lead.

Time for some of that "can do" attitude - COG?

Phil Fitzpatrick

That's a very fine poem, Michael.

I think PNG literature is in very safe hands.

You just have to get it out to the people now.

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