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12 haiku inspired by the poem, 'The Mountain'


I WANT TO OFFER YOU some ‘pseudo-haiku’ which have been inspired by Emma Wakpi’s poem, The Mountain.

Haiku are based on observation and description.

The very direct, terse and somewhat impersonal style I’ve employed helps to bring out the appalling situation created by resource exploitation, where mining and logging can ravage the land and destroy the people (although I don’t claim that to be the case in Tabubil).

So here are 12 haiku derived from thoughts after reading Emma Wakpi’s poetry.

while we raze mountains
old folk die with our kastoms
and our future fades:

behind bubu’s grave
lies debris, rubble and dust
where two mountains stood

men bled this land dry –
drank it up in steel monsters
roaring night and day

near ruined rivers
of mud, littered with dead trees
where fish feed on filth

there lived a white man
and there lived three yellow men –
wantoks lived there too

steel carcasses rust
slowly in overgrown bush
where their work was done

more men cut down trees,
women whore, give birth and die –
some children survive

guns guard forest camps
and children no longer play
where bubu hunted

no school for children
whose sick stepmothers garden
where trees once towered

planes still land nearby
every few years, then fly off
with no passengers

somewhere in Mosbi
are papers with all our names
and what we were paid

our children will know
how we lived for a short time
and how we failed them.


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Russell Soaba

Lovely, Michael.

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