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Beside that fireplace


Beside that fireplace
The crackle of burning wood
And the roar of the wild
Sparked a well warmed conversation
Just like in Genesis

The scroll of oral history
Unfolded and disclosed a story
Aflame by the power of the dream
Beside that fireplace
Just like in Eden

He told me a story in November
About the time when the power of imagination
Imagined not the winter of civiliation
Nor the summer of Christianity
Just a a community of grassroots

There were no blankets or heaters
And despite the harshness
Peace and harmony prevailed
As if the many had a single heart
In a contemplative monastery

In the life and history of tribes and clans
Runs a thread rich in tumbuna spirits
Tasting the manna of peace
In a world of gods that tastes
Just like the Exodus

Life was harsh due to a system of tyranny
But peace and harmony had its place
His tumbunas connected so well
Relationships strengthened and maintained
Marriages planned and arranged in unity

Bushes and gardens cleared for free
Kaukau traded with fish and no fee
No dollar, no kina, no toea
His tumbunas shared freely
And lived happily together

Common good they talked and discussed
In the tsuhanas and haus tambarans
Passed and obeyed even if it meant
Liberating the miscreants

I remember that November story
Beside that fireplace
And I wish we breathe that
Same spirit this November

Tsuhana = Buka term for chief’s house or sacred house
Haus Tambaran = Sepik term with the same meaning as the tsuhana


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