Papuan metaphor: Just who was Ihini? A confession of sorts
The Days I Die

Anatomy’s tale (stori b’long lek-han)


I’m not charmed by your classy shoes
Or the finer details in the laces on them
But the feet within
That walked you places
Places of solitude, places of wonders
Now spaces that don’t exist anymore
Your feet, they tell your story

Mi no laikim nating naispela shoe b’long yu
Na ol kain stailim b’long em
Mi laikim lek-han istap insait long em
Na ol ples we yu ibin wokabaut
Ol ples we inogat man, ol narapela kain hap olgeta
We nau ol dispela ples ino stap moa
Lek-han b’long yu em autim stori b’long yu.

I’m not charmed by your silky chinos
Or the labels embodied
But the legs beneath them
The welts they endured
From your childhood trickeries
Of sliding slopes through craggy territory
Your legs, they tell your story

I’m not charmed by your gold drenched fixtures
Of the diamonds entrenched
But the hands coated by them
The grime you frayed to find yourself
Blistered from the climb, cut from the battle
A postcard perfect premonition you vow to deserve
Your hands, they tell your story

I’m not charmed by crisp free chemise
Or the shiny brooches heaved
But the layer of flesh around
The vase and holster for one’s heart
A heart once broken, battered and belonged
Now restoring itself in seclusion
Your soul, it tells your story.


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Lapieh Landu

I will get from Keith.

Michael Dom

Hi Lapieh - I've tried your email but could not get through.

It would be best to work with the author of the original.

Let's get in touch for translating the other verses.

Keith has my email address.

Lapieh Landu

Beautiful translation Michael.

Love it.

Michael Dom

This translation is obviously incomplete and I will need the editorial assistance and permission of the poet to reproduce this piece in my upcoming collection.

I'll be in touch by email Lapieh.

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