Destitution on Australia’s border
When the last old kiap dies

A dangerous year for poetry

Phil Fitzpatrick - ready to publish a collection of PNG poetry in the year of the plague


NOOSA - Author, kiap, anthropologist and PNG Attitude bulwark, Phil Fitzpatrick, has emerged with a wonderful proposal for Papua New Guinea’s poets to motivate them to inspiration in this, the year of the plague

“I thought I might experiment this year and collect poems that appear on PNG Attitude that appeal to me or attract positive comments from readers,” Phil writes.

“The idea would be to simply list the poems in date order together with interesting comments reproduced about them.

“If there is a fair collection by the end of the year, I'd look at publishing them as an anthology, probably as an ebook and maybe a hardcopy.

“So far I've got about half a dozen poems,” Phil noted.

Well, I happen to believe this is a splendid concept and later in 2020, when Phil reckons he’s got a collection ready to roll, I’ll send out a funding alert to readers who still have some spare cash left over after the Great Depression that will follow the Great Plague.

I’ll commit $500 to platform an appeal which will seek to ensure we can at least provide the collected poets with hard copies of the book.

And, later this year, I'll shout out for a major top-up from readers.

Phil’s working title for the collection is ‘Papua New Guinean Poetry - the Year of the Plague’.

It’s got ‘Collector’s Item’ written across it already.

Phil says he’s set aside about half a dozen poems so far.

Given that PNG is the Land of Unexpectedly Talented Bards, I expect he’ll have his home office crowded with rhymes, metres, iambics and pentameters well before year’s end.

Go to it, wordmeisters.


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Stephanie Alois

Great job Mr Fitzpatrick. Hope more poems are coming up from PNG writers not only for publishing but for the sake of writing the poem itself.

Baka Bina

What is posted on Poetry PNG now will make you cringe happy, Phil. Have you tried reading what was put there in the last few months - mostly free form and yes, especially in the 14 days lockdown and the start of the state of emergency.

They do not get on PNG Attitude, these poets but they are darned good. Everyone should get to read Poetry PNG on Facebook.

Chips  Mackellar

How about this poem for the collection, Keith?


They're all old now their hair turned white, as the years went rolling by,
And with every year that passes now, we see more kiaps die.
Their children scattered far and wide, grand-children further still.
And who will care when the last one dies? Whose memory will be fill?
We'll remember all those lilting songs the mission children sang,
But who'll remember Maurie Brown, Jack Worcester or Mal Lang,
Ron Galloway or Preston White, Des Ashton or Bob Bell,
Jim Kent Bob Fayle or Brian Dodds, and Jack Emanuel?

We'll forget about Dan Duggan, Harry Redmond and Rick Hill.
But we'll remember Ela Beach, and the view from Paga Hill.
We'll forget about Tom Ellis, Des Martin and John Land,
And we won't remember Bill McGrath, Denys Faithful or Bill Brand.
We'll remember snow capped Giluwe, and the islands of Milne Bay,
But not Keith Dyer nor Freddy Kaad, nor Christopher Gordon Day,
Vin Smith and Graham Pople, and old Jack Battersby,
Peter Salmon and Des Fanning and Bill Brown M.B.E.

And hundreds more we can recall, but too many here to name,
They all deserve our praise and thanks, they've earned eternal fame.
Heroes all of the jungle tracks, road builders of renown.
Across this land from north to south, they helped build every town.
We'll remember all events now past, which developed PNG,
But the names of those who built this land, will fade from memory.
From Stone Age depths of PNG, they helped this nation rise,
But who will mourn his passing, when the last old kiap dies?

Philip Fitzpatrick

Running the most interesting comments after each poem is making for a unique format. I'm keeping the names of the commentators so that they get their little bit of glory too.

Michael Dom

Poetry is to communication what balanced nutrition is to food; without it our life story has less vitality and goodness.

Eat poems, drink them.

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