Bougainville confident PNG will give promised funding
The faceless soldier

Evolutionary tongue

Lapieh Landu at the Crocodile Prize awardsLAPIEH LANDU

This poem emphasises the slow evolution of our languages, which are changing over time and we don’t even know it. It took a good but painful conversation with an old man for me to realise how bad my Pidgin was. That awkward dialogue inspired this piece - LL

A simple hello, a simple goodbye
Can mean today, tomorrow or even goodnight
It changes, it alters. It’s made in its own
To mend and meddle when all is in plight

From the Islands to the Highlands
They echo, a totally different side
With origins unknown, they resonate
Through lands far and wide

An identity of pride they’ve become
That diverge us all from each other
So intricate, so imitable, so rare
Why compromise, why even bother?

Authenticated by culture and tradition
Our forte have become obsolete
This medium of communication existing
Will soon be swept under our feet

Traded for a foreign surge of idea
Old and important norms bastardised
Taken, perished and thrown
Measured, relinquished and seized

Soon there will be no more
But the bare mix of alien idea
Our children will barely know
And now that has become our fear

Nubung! Lubukae! Marum!
Goodnight! Goodnight! Goodnight!
The metamorphosis of our culture
Now compromised in this modern fight


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Erasmus Baraniak


From Carcoar, Mandurama and Lyndhurst,
Places of fierce loyalties and abiding pride
Forsaking many mothers’ enchantments
Where your fathers once sang and panned
by the shaded banks of the Belubula, and
Sheared shed by side down Gilmores lane’n
Sang Auld Lang Sie till they could no more.

Out West where the wind ‘n willows wept,
Winding rivers over brown plains swept
Where legends born on Springs day dew
To be wafted away by mid summers gasp
Wild bitter cold silent nights reckoned
Hot dusty sweltering roads beckoned
Only men who lived to recount the days
Told their tales o’er fire’s silent gazes.

Out West where your fathers lived’n loved
Fought natures gods with sticks ‘n stones
Drove till all grass gone by summers curse
Steel’d others their herds to never’s edge
Filled history’s pages of the way they rode
Hard man once in mortal gamble wrote
Only the pure passed for the sons fathered
While others thru natures cruelty faltered.

From afar, the call of the Land you heard
Cross sweeping plains and rivers brown
Came, abandoning your only treasure
a young mans pride and prowess up
the glory and splendor of youth, shining
Swelling in excitable exuberance, came
Welling like fountains, till overflowing
Stay’d only by a mother’s prayers, and
Stilled, by the sobering hand of fate.

But now as you lay in the heat, still
In this soft sogging mud of Isurava
Oblivious to the bark and spat
Of a thousand guns and more
While jungle shudders around
An eerie silence befalls you
Whispering, calling your name
Coming, come carry you away.

Man by day and boy by night
Your thoughts are far away
As each gasp ebbs you down, low
You long once more to lay’n feel
The cool streams of your Belubula
And hear your mothers sweet voice
and that sure hand at the cradle
To rock you away, far, faraway.

Alas! that knowing by the setting sun
Oh My Lord! don’t let me die here!
in this bloody savage land!
Forsake loves, dreams’n mother’s hopes
Lo! those sweet farewells unfulfilled
and this, this, such an unfair reward!

As the days last rays caress your face
The glory of youth no more, spent
Scarred and soaked in crimson flow
A new song is silently formed
Over the whispers and moans
A priceless sonnet to freedom
Etched in the mist o’er Kokoda

Gone are the marches of the Brigades,
Echoes of the Colonels last command
Voices of Company, Mates and Diggers
For as the Angels hold you aloft
A sweet and tragic offering
High above the sweltering canopy
You take your last breath,
and with it your mothers hopes
The boy from Mandurama.

But in the hearts of many gone before
And many yet to come
Your name will be on our lips
As the sun sets over the Stanleys
And then in the morning
We will remember you, still as,
The man from Mandurama.


Dedicated to the many young men
From country towns of Australia
Who left their mothers and dreams
To fight on the Kokoda campaign
And lost their sweet tender lives
May we as PNG not forget them
And those Angels of our own.

(KJ - This is an echo to The Faceless Soldier)

Erasmus Baraniak

Some take Olive Oil,
Somewhat like vegetable oil
That the hand, of someone
And the pan, they have stirred
Can cook without the lard, Ouch!

Jimmy Drekore

Lapieh, This beautiful country with its rich cultural diversity is fast loosing its grip to tradition let alone the langauages.

I'm scared my grandchildren may not be able to speak my traditional language.

This poem reminds us to treasure our language and uphold our culture or we will be the last generation to have spoken what is fast dying.

Our traditional language in its purest form. Thanks for this piece.

Lapieh Landu

I like that verse by Oates...

Paul Oates

Some take an imperative position,
Somewhat like a veritable religion,
That the tongue, of someone,
And the words they have spun,
Well reveal their subliminal intention.

Lapieh Landu

Thank you Michael. Im glad you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing.

Yes, indeed it is 'norms' and not morns..typing error I presume.

I put sized , in terms of measuring...just a way of saying I guess, or I just run out of words..hehe.. but I think seized would be a better substitute.

Thank you again for the comments.

Michael Dom

That's a great title and an interesting poem, Lapieh.

Quatrain is your forte. And I'm liking the last stanza and its very strong ending.

I think you meant 'norms bastardised' and I'm not sure how 'sized' fits in, perhaps you meant 'seized' or 'ceased' - but that's just me.

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