26 Sonnets: Contemporary Papua New Guinean Poetry, by Michael Dom, JDT Publications, March 2020, 66pp. ISBN-13: 979-8621-24-062-2
PORT MORESBY - I have great respect and admiration for the bold and measured language in Michael Dom’s poetry.
Reading this collection assured me that Dom is willing to take up forms of poetry that are structured and articulated through very specific rules of construction.
He is willing to explore through such forms very complex social and cultural world.
I recognise that the forms used are the sonnet and sijo, two different cultural platforms for poetry. Though I am curious how Tok Pisin poems can fit into these forms, I think we can learn that the frames of expression are there; all we have to do is give it flesh and life through poetry in our own language.
Poetry is a special language that engages with the deep unconscious of a human being. Expressing the deep unconscious takes a special kind of person whose poetic sensibilities are expressed in sharp words.
A poet with the sixth sense can see, articulate, and string together words that tell a thousand stories. A poet recreates the world to make sense of it.
Michael Theophilus Dom has that special gift of poetry. He has sharpened his words every time he writes a new piece.
Dom is a young poet who has come of age. He has the ability to pick up the ordinary and mundane, and project it on to a page and make us see what we are unable see on our own.
He shows us a different worldview to the one we have been living and breathing our whole life.
He is a great poet in the making. In a line of poetic tradition since Alan Natachee, Kumalau Tawali, John Kasaipwalova, Apisa Enos, Russell Soaba and this writer, Michael Theophilus Dom is quickly securing his place among the great poets of this nation.
Finally, just as much as I valued reading Michael Theophilus Dom’s wonderful and powerful poems, I invite all readers to follow this young poet on his journey to greatness.
Sonnet 3: I Met a Pig Farmer the Other Day
At the foot of Mount Giluwe we met
A place where they say ice falls from the sky
We spoke of pork and the lack of good vets
As we toiled in his village piggery
Each planning how his stock would reach market
Did we both share a wish that pigs could fly?
Agriculture is our backbone we say
(Rhetorical ruse on farmers always)
Yet in our grand plans for development
We have forgotten what that really meant
From the highlands to the coastal islands
The struggle to feed ourselves never ends.
If you met those who’s unheard voices cry
You too would join me in questioning, why?
Sonnet 21: Petty O’Neill, Scary but Still Petty
Despot toddler with a pot of honey
Using Haus Tambaran like a dunny
So smart and cunning to take our money
Lawyer’s gowns are the skirts of your mummy
Poor academics wave you blow-kisses
From underfunded ivory towers
Trammeled airmen joined unemployed masses
But now you know that some will not cower
‘How does anyone dare question me?
I am the PM: “It’s all about me”
Poster boy of the MDR-TB!
Fawned over by Eggins on Em-TV!’
If Pete’s not a wannabe Mugabe
He's being scary, but still very petty.