Preaching to those who will not listen, & who pay the price for it
Clement Koys & me – cultural preservation through art

You see dried grass over rough cut logs

Goroka_SarahHalferty-29MICHAEL DOM

You see dried grass over rough cut logs
And the earth floor of my house
When I open my home to you
And you think to yourself how you can help me.
And yet…
I smelled the air that morning we cut the kunai grass
And I heard the children laughing as they played
On the green knoll beside us
And I tasted the sweet sour sweat
As we hewed the living trees to earth.

I felt the heat of day and the burning flames
As this house was dried and bound
By light of bright blue day above
And in the deepest dark of night.
I recall the evenings we ate the green-cook
That the old women brought us
(God bless pig fat!)
Because they saw our toil
And loved their grandchildren.
But I do not know and lament bitterly
How could I help you know?
So, this is what I would pray
If God would listen to me once
On one night of His majestic eternity
High above the sparks of my fire place
Give my friend peace, if you are truly god
With the blessing that only heavens knows
Because I have much to be grateful for
But so little to give.
Let my friend understand that I too know that we are here and now, each of us, alive
And we love too.


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Darren A. Talyaga

Great poem,, Dom you are a good poet.

Deedee Dademo

Lovely poem.

Philip Fitzpatrick

By and large I’m very grateful to be living in a democratic and developed country. Among other things I developed diabetes in my late 30s, probably as a result of a genetic disposition. If I hadn’t been living where I am with access to modern medicine the chances are I wouldn’t still be alive. That aside, I still occasionally hanker for a simpler life.

I suppose it’s partly a product of age and the re-evaluations that accompany it. A sort of old man’s naïve and impractical Utopian day dreaming. Michael’s poem made me think about it again though. A life closer to the earth, the way we were probably designed to live until we got too smart for our own good.

I spent a great deal of my working life out in the sticks. I feel very comfortable sleeping in a swag under the stars or on a rough cot under canvas or thatch in the jungle. Watching the red sparks spiralling up into the night sky from a campfire has been one of the greatest pleasures in my life.

I still occasionally camp out in the bush but now that I’m more or less retired I’ve managed to also capture that same magic by building a deck with a fire pit under an old mango tree in my backyard. On a good night it works a treat but I still know that a few metres away there is a warm bed in a comfortable house with all the mod cons.

It’s really a kind of faux earthiness, especially when I know that just to our north there are people actually living the simple lifestyle I naively covert. I wonder if they realise what they’ve got. I guess if you asked them they might not see it that way. They might be day dreaming about living in the city in a big house with a big car and servants to pander to their every whim. Or maybe not.

The truth is we’ve got very little choice in the way we live, up there or down here. In our developed world we can aspire to wealth and power but at the end of the day it all plays out on the same stage. It would take a very brave soul to step off that stage.

A few do, of course. Up north the opportunities are even more limited. The gulf between a subsistence lifestyle and a western one is very wide and deep, despite a few success stories that Rubicon is seldom crossed.

In either place we probably spend our lives longing for what will never be. It is only in later years that we realise how we have largely wasted our time and how what we have is not so bad after all. That truth is perhaps what the person offering help in Michael’s poem doesn’t realise.

Michael Dom

Phil, Johnny, Ed and Steve - thank you for your appreciation of this prose poem.

Steven Ilave Snr

Agree with Phil, a softer side of Michael. The Earth floor matters at the end of the day: home,friendship, honest toil, gratefulness, love, being alive and yep, looking up beyond the sparks of the fireplace :). Lovely piece.

Ed Brumby

I've meditated on this rather good poem for a while, Poro, and have but one misgiving: you are wrong to suggest, as you do in the third last line, that you have so little to give.

Through your anthology and your Attitude comments you have given us so much to ponder and meditate upon, and the pleasure and occasional peace that comes from such are gifts from you that I shall always treasure.

Johnny Blades

Good poem

Philip Fitzpatrick

Lovely poem Michael - your softer side, or as someone else said:

"A great rant from an obviously rabid agnostic lefty member of the green Gaia movement who thinks the world will be fine if we just all hold hands and sing kumbai'ia whilst eating lentils cooked on a fire of dried cow dung".

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