Male initiation in Orokolo culture
Bishop to meet Namorong as Take the Truth takes off

Sonnet 3: I met a pig farmer the other day


At the foot of Mount Giluwe we met
A place where they say ice falls from the sky
We spoke of pork and the lack of good vets
As we toil’d in his village piggery
Each planning how his stock would reach market
Did we both share a wish that pigs could fly?

Agriculture is our backbone we say
(Rhetorical ruse on farmers always)
Yet in our grand plans for development
We have forgotten what that really meant
From the highlands to the coastal islands

The struggle to feed ourselves never ends

If you met those who’s unheard voices cry
You too would join me in questioning, why?

Penned at Labu Station at 3:15am on 17/05/2012.


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Michael Dom

That's the hat-trick then. Thanks for putting up the challenge Phil. And now thanks to Peter...

Russell Soaba may have more to discuss at our next forum.

My thoughts about quatrains, sonnets, etcetera / These traditional forms can be very useful / As aspiring poets we should see them as tools / They can help to direct and keep our work truthful / We can focus on best words that fit and sound cool / They help us discern prose from poetry better.

Peter Kranz

I agree - learning to write to a strict structured form is excellent training for aspiring poets, even if this may not be your style of choice.

One of the greatest villanelles is Dylan Thomas' famous "Do not go gentle into that good night" which many students will be familiar with.

(No poet me I'm afraid, but I did teach it for a few years.)

Phil Fitzpatrick

I recall watching the audience closely when you were trying to make that point Russell. As I recall, it flitted across the room, rested momentarily on a few of the less-bonier heads and then disappeared out the door and into the sunshine.

A large proportion of the entries in the competition this year are really prose-poems with extremely loose structures - prose dressed up to look like poetry really.

I can write a prose-poem in ten minutes but it takes me days to put together a structured poem. With a re-reading of the latter it usually ends up screwed up and in the bin.

Whether one form is better than the other is a matter of perspective I guess. A good prose-poem beats doggerel any day.

All praise to Michael for having the talent and diligence to pull off his haiku and sonnets. I imagine he is currently scribbling a villanelle [19 lines with two rhymes].

PS 'waylaid' and 'away' is stretching it a bit Peter, but hey, who am I to criticise, better than anything I can do!

We will publish Michael Dom's villanelle tomorrow - KJ

Russell Soaba

Well, let's talk about the sonnet, the villanelle, the sestina, the terca rima, the lot and agree that Shakespeare and others ain't that obsolete after all. Wasn't that what I was trying to express at our last Crocodile Writers Workshop?

Ah, you young bards of today...

Peter Kranz

A villanelle for the people of Paga Hill. (No masterpiece I admit, but an example of the villanelle form.)

My tambus gone away,
The hut is lost and chill,
There is nothing more to say.

Through broken house and way
The winds blow bleak and shrill.
Tambus forced away.

Nor is there friend today
To speak them gud or ill:
There is nothing more to say.

Why is it we are then waylaid
Around the smashed-up shell?
They all are gone away,

And our poor Wantok-way
For them is gaiman still:
There is nothing more to say.

There is ruin and decay
In our House upon the Hill:
They all are gone away,
There is nothing more to say.

Peter Kranz

Michael Dom - brilliant!

I now challenge PNG writers to produce a local villanelle.

Mrs Barbara Short

As a former teacher of Agricultural Economics, I appreciated the poetic way you have expressed this age old problem - getting the produce to the market.

I remember taking my Sydney Grade 12 Agriculture students to visit a piggery up near Goroka in 1970. They were cross-breeding the hardy local pigs with some large imported breeds.

Now I guess you have some good piggery businesses up in the highlands and have to work out a good marketing strategy.

I'd suggest a small well run pig abbatoir where the local pigs were killed and also processed i.e cooked, salted, frozen, packaged, etc so they would have "value added" and could be flown out to the coastal cities ready to be sold in the large supermarkets.

Yes! Why is this not happening already?

Obviously the people who have been acquiring the wealth, like Namah, and the other 35 people Task Force Sweep located, have not seen the great investment opportunities for pork, bacon, etc.

Amazing what thoughts come at 3am.

Phil Fitzpatrick

Aspiring PNG poets please note - this is how you write poetry.

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