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A Fear Unbearable


A contribution to ‘My Walk to Equality’, the first anthology of PNG
women’s writing to be published on International Women’s Day, 2017

For my darling daughter, Lily Skye Pauletta Nai

I shudder with fear for you Nai
The kind that keeps me awake at night
And tussle with regret beneath these sheets
Leaving my gullet left for dry

Fear of the world we had conceived you in
The treacherous ruse that await

Fear of the struggle you would defy  
That weaken you to the bottomless pit  

Fear of a culture that ravages your aspirations
And belittle your wondrous dreams.

Fear of the man that swindle your innocence
And impair your timeless beauty

Fear of a regime shaped by chauvinists
A faction deprived of true liberty

Fear of a people that call you frail
And condone you of your worth

Fear of unforeseen mirrors of this realm
And their ruthless judgment of who you are

Fear of my absence when He finally calls me
And your solitude without my spirit  

I shudder with fear for you Nai
The kind that keeps me awake at night
And tussle with regret beneath these sheets
Leaving my gullet left for dry


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Lapieh Landu

Sad truth Phil. It's a terrible way to demand respect. It is quite evident in our society and an acceptable way known to many traditional communities.

Men are allowed to use force, because they are MEN. They are the bread winners, they are head of the family.

Even in the modern society, some educated men still use coercion to deprive women's liberty and deny their access to resources that will enable her to rise to the same level as them.

So yes, I do fear for my daughter and what the future holds for her.

Philip Fitzpatrick

This is a very interesting poem Lapieh, how fear is such a significant factor in the lives of PNG women.

I suspect that some men, who don't have the same levels of fear, deliberately promote fear among women as a means of controlling them. And not just in PNG.

Used as a weapon in this manner it is especially reprehensible.

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