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Remember Me: An ode for the dead


The living must honour the dead,
         For they teach us the good and the bad.
Times of sorrow and strife,
         Are all a part of life.

Though the world I may roam,
         My mind is never far from home.
Although I travel about,
         My heart will always remain in Waut.

We were certainly not the first,
         And let us not be the last
To have the spiritual thirst
         To commemorate the ancestral past.

Eating, sharing and giving
         Is how the present should operate.
It is the role of the living
         To assist those who have met their fate.

If tomorrow I should die,
         I hope you will put up my haus krai.
Please keep track of all who came
         To help remember and honour my name.

The present and the past,
         Create the future, when they meet at last.
Dancing, singing, stomping the ground,
         Whatever it takes please don’t let my name go down!

Waut - short form or nickname for Wautogik, the Arapesh village where I come from
haus krai – wake or grieving time


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Mackhenly Kaiok

A great poem, Greg.

Gregory Bablis

Thank you uncle Makalai. Indeed I wrote the poem with him and other great Papua New Guinean men and women in mind.

Makalai Bell

A reflective poem Greg,
as I read, I thought about my great friend, your Dad, late Felix Bablis PhD.

Gregory Bablis

Thanks Philip. I wrote the poem thinking about different mortuary / death rituals and responses to death in PNG.

The ways Papua New Guineans traditionally remember, honour, or memorialise the dead and how that is changing yet remains the same both in villages and more urban areas.

Death rituals in towns and cities while may try to mirror traditional notions have come to be driven by different motivations and societal and organisational requirements which Papua New Guineans have to satisfy in order to bury, honour the dead by their traditional standards.

Modern economy and government add new ritual phases as it were.

Philip Fitzpatrick

We all want to be remembered and, strangely enough, we become better people the longer we are gone.

Nice poem Greg.

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