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Chant for the spirit world

Marupial mask dancer ( KANAMON

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

Betel nut stuff in his mouth, jaw grinding it skilfully
Bush knife on his right hand, clearing the bush track
His grandchildren followed
To his right side and to his left
Spewing the mashed betel nut stuff from his mouth
Into the air like thin smoke from his smoking pipe

Spirits of the jungle, spirits of our ancestors
I bring before you my grandchildren
Your great grandchildren
Bestow upon them your blessings
Strength, courage and wisdom
Protect them against the wiles of the evil forces

Never ask a question about the jungle
Admire nothing that you see, touch or taste
Evil spirits are watching everywhere
And everything you do, do it as you own it
His mouth now empty from the spillage

As the sun sets, he set a fire alight
He burns rubbish made by his grandchildren
Wiping the ground with green twigs
Calling the spirit of all his grandchildren by name
Least they be left behind and bond by evil forces
Time to go home! Time to go home!

Spirit of the jungle, Spirits of our ancestors
Release the soul of your great grandchildren
Their chores for the day is over
We are going home to rest.


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