The Crocodile Palace
A golden opportunity to stuff up national prosperity

I am Sieni



Here is a poem from my Samoan friend, Faumuina Felolini Tafuna'i, who says: "I am running storytelling workshops about climate change and I am feeling inspired. The exercise was how do I shrink climate change down to one family and portray a sense of loss."

Faumuina is the media specialist for Women in Business Development, which works to strengthen village economies in Samoa using both traditional and modern technology. She has more than 20 years communications experience and is a winner of the African/Caribbean/Pacific award for the best agricultural journalist.

Faumuina is an important voice who must be heard. Her poetry is moving and powerful and I love this particular poem.

Aspiring poets can learn from Faumuina’s simple and elegant prose technique: how she tells a story laced with unspoken passion and emotion; how she speaks with a voice that is as clear as the blue skies, tangy as the salty sea winds and as embracing as the warm oceans. The voice that is Queen Pacifica.

I am Sieni

I am Sieni
My mother is Sieni
My grandmother is Sieni
We were all born in the same house
We all swam in the same sea
We all grew taro in the same swamp
We all drank coconuts from the same plantation
We all stood on the same table when the king tides swept into our house
We all climbed onto the same roof when the sea waters flooded our home
We all waved goodbye from the same plane when we were forced to leave our island
We all cried when we saw our house in South Auckland with neighbours we did not know, surrounded by a sea of concrete, and people who could not pronounce our name
I am Sieni
My mother is Sieni
My grandmother is Sieni
And this here, inside me, is my daughter Sieni
She will never know our little house, the warm embrace of our sea, plant her own swamp taro, and rip the husk off coconuts from our plantation
She will never be we and we will never be she


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