Award-winning Bougainville author facing legal challenge
The Old Man

The leeches suck life


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Poetry Award

Leech in full flightLeeches! Leeches! Leeches!
Camouflaged among the bushes
How placid you appear along those tracks
Awaiting your prey
Those smooth and idle things

Then came that idle thing
You grabbed it in ambush
Then, suck and suck and suck
You sucked the life
Those smooth and idle things

In no time,
Your hungry tummy is blown up like a balloon
Being full,
You disappear into those thick bushes
Slipping away,
Taking no notice of what you did to that life
Those smooth and idle things

Then again you emerge so placid and innocent
Immune to the system
Awaiting your next prey
This time even hungrier than ever before
Those smooth and idle things

If only you have ears,
You’d hear their cries
If only you have eyes,
You’d see their tears
But you have a heart of stone
You only suck and suck – suck life
Those smooth and idle things

Tears have reached the depth of the ocean
Cries have reached the heavens above
People in the furthest ends of the earth have heart it
But you not! You suck – suck life
Those smooth and idle things


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Michael Dom

Gabriel - if you are still reading PNG Attitude, we have levelled some criticism at this poem, which to us, seemed very fair.

You have submitted other poems, which means that you enjoy writing also.

The criticism offered for this particular poem was made with good spirit that was meant to be clear and uncompromising and, hopefully, helping to you too.

If you wish to clarify your position please do, otherwise we may have a misconception of your intentions, which leaves us all the lesser.

Michael Dom

I believe Gabriel has pressed this very close to the edge of 'stealing poetic thunder'.

The metaphor is the same and the essential poetic vision is, to me, much too similar to be ignored, although he has added several aesthetic lines of his own.

In particular the use of the word 'placid' and the term 'smooth and idle things', which are key assets in the construct of the poem should be considered - read the poem without them or by substituting them and it does not come out the same.

I believe he has been strongly influenced, even if he does not recall reading Jeff's work. In fact, it would be proper if he placed quotation marks around the terms 'placid' and 'smooth and idle things', which to me, are not his original terms since we know that they have been used previously on this very same avenue. Otherwise, I would be hesitant to accept this as an original poem.

Jimmy Drekore

I'm with Jeff on this one. We write when the moment strikes.

I for one don't go reading other works and try to pull from them, that does not define originality.

"Smooth and idle things" is a giveaway.

Mrs Barbara Short

Reminds me of a certain Minister for Health who thinks it is OK to let people die from fake medicines.

Jeff Febi

Hey Gabriel, funny your poem and my poem titled 'Leeches' which was published here on 29 May 2011 appear similar.

See link:

Hey Keith and readers, do you see what I am seeing?

There are some striking similarities. Let's consider it to be a 'tribute poem' - KJ

Jeff Febi

Glad another poem using leeches as a metaphor for corrupt people has been written.

Below is what I wrote back in 2011 which was published on PNG Attitude


Like leeches! O leeches!
How they appear so tender.
Such smooth and meekly things.

And lay in wait, then
Spring upon them that Wantonly walk,
And coldly embrace.

Suck! O they suck!
How they suck the life - the life!
Out of them, who know not.
And suck! and suck!

Then they fade into seeming oblivion,
Full, then again how they appear,
So tender, such smooth and meekly things.

They hear not cries, nor see tears,
And suck! O suck, is all they know.

By: Jeffrey Febi 6th April 2011

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