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One day, in this place, we will have good things


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Poetry Award

One day, in this place, we will have good things.

Good things will be here and there in this place

Because we now live in a Modern Age.

Our dead ancestors lived in a Stone Age.

And they did not know what we know today.

We can go, do and be where they could not.

We know that there are so many good things.

There are things that we need, others we want.

Here we will all work for them together.

And we will be proud to have built our dreams.

Here there will be a road, and there a bridge,

Because these are good to make folks wealthy.

Here there will be a clinic and a school.

And there will be a manned police station,

Because these are good to keep folks healthy.

The clinic will have clean, well equipped wards

Where a good doctor treats folks, kids and crooks,

Because even culprits get sick sometimes.

The school will have good books and computers,

Because our kids must know much more than us

So that they can fly airplanes from the port

While pastors watch in envy from church doors.

We’ll still observe Sabbath, as some folk do,

And we’ll work hard at whatever we do.

Here there will be a fresh produce depo,

Because the fresh produce has to be bulked.

Our farms, far better than our ancestors’,

Will feed everyone here and elsewhere too.

There will be trade-stores and hardware outlets,

Because goods and stuff need to be traded.

Hard working folk will get paid for their time.

Businessmen, bankers, police and teachers too.

Plumbers, carpenters, mechanics for cars,

Because the roads will need cars and trucks too.

We will have a few poets to mend shoes.

Politicians here will boast of this place,

Because our politicians will work too.

When our friends or tourists come to visit

They will stay at guesthouses or hotels

And their kids will play in the park with ours.

Yes, bring kids too, because playgrounds need kids.

We’ll be happy, healthy, wealthy and wise,

Smartly going about our Modern Age lives.

And when we dream at night, our ancestors,

In Stone Age Hausman or Haus Tambaran,

Will watch and listen in on our dream-talk

And they will ooh and aah and say to us

What proud parents we have made them all.

How they knew all along that we could do it.

And they will boast amongst themselves of us.

How they taught us all the good things we know

And how we are as smart as they once were,

Because dead ancestors need to feel pride too,

Now that these dreams belong to our children.

One day, in this place, we will have good things.

Yes, many good things will be here and there,

Because this place is home to good folk too.

Prose poem of 483 words, written in mostly ten syllable lines, while at Labu Station on 20 February 2014, at an hour I will not number...


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Mrs Barbara Short

I guess wearing shoes in PNG is a sign of something - westernisation, modernisation, superiority, or as you say "a status symbol".

They are obviously looked on as "good things". Especially court shoes for women when they go on important assignments. The higher heel probably raises them up and gives them confidence.

People are probably more likely to respect them if they are wearing shoes. It might show that they have been educated and have greater understanding of the world.

Now mending is definitely a worthy career. Something there probably needs to be more of in PNG. Do you have enough mechanics to mend the cars and trucks and PMVs and the bikes?

Now pig keeping is also definitely an honest worthy task, but different.

Michael Dom

Thanks Barbara.

The metaphor of poets mending shoes was an epiphany.

Wearing shoes makes it seem as if the earth is covered in a pliable fabric that makes it much easier to move around on, prevents injury and adds a bit of style to folks sense of fashion - sometimes its a status symbol!

Mending shoes is an honest and worthy task.

Like pig keeping.

Mrs Barbara Short

I'm glad to hear that the poet can mend shoes. I come from a family that mended a lot of shoes. It is very important that PNG people learn how to mend schools, hospitals, aid posts, teacher's houses, policeman's houses, streets, airstrips, waterpipes, drains, laws, polluted rivers, broken relationships, broken commitments,.. so many things need mending in the Modern Age. A big job for the poets!

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