The lost creative writing generation of Papua New Guinea
Understanding youth: a PNG novel with an engaging narrative

Sonnet VIII: My Ancestors

My ancestorsJORDAN DEAN

Long ago, my ancestors roamed this place
These mountains, jungles and mighty rivers
With bow and arrows and mud on their face
They were cannibals that fed on livers

From open savannahs to coastal plain
Rich with a vast range of animal life
They could make storm clouds and bring rain
My ancestors lived free and without strife

Missionaries came and said they’re unholy
You should never judge their tattooed cover
Why say their black magic was ungodly
When your fabled Jesus walked on water?

Never look at my people with distaste
And never draw such conclusions in haste

Comments

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Michael Dom

Good stuff here.

I like the clear turn in verse three, from natural to supernatural in a way.

Chips Mackellar

Jordan, this is a very good poem, with correct rhyme and rhythm, except for verse three, which does not rhyme. For example, "unholy" does not rhyme with "ungodly", and "cover" does not rhyme with "water." However, with a few changes you could make this verse perfect. For example, When the missionaries first saw the tasttoos they probably thought your ancestor's skins were unclean. So you could change 'unholy' to 'unclean,' which will then rhyme with 'mean' which in this context is a verb meaning to claim something discussed. And as the tattoos were on your ancestor's skins, you could change 'cover' to 'skin.' Then if you invert the lines, you get a verse like this:

Missionaries came and said we're unclean.
They should never have judged our tattooed skin.
Jesus walked on water, they mean,
So how could they say our black magic was sin?

You see, perfect rhythm and perfech rhyme.

You are a really gifted poet. Keep writing more poems, and if I can be of any assistance, contact me on
malcolmmackellar@aapt.net.au
Best wishes

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