The tragic history of Goaribari Island
Cry Me a River #4

Keep Your Heaven


keep your heaven
if you will ask for offerings
and won’t buy my scones

keep your jesus
if you will ignore me
and love your own

keep your religion
if it will teach me to
hate on an empty stomach

and if after the mass
you drive home in a Maserati
while i limp to my shack

keep your prayers
keep your spirituality that separates
me from my brother who is gay

keep the songs that lift
you to heaven if your stares
will push my sister away

keep your sermon that scares
me into submission
while you sleep with the deaconess

keep your prophetic gift
it is pushing me back
into the darkness

all i want is humanity
all i want is equality
all i want is a jesus
that says everyone matters


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Philip Kai Morre

Charlie Pride sings, "Heaven watches over fools like me". I would be a fool to go to church every Sunday, make offerings that feed the priest or pastor, but lose sight of the very people I'm supposed to be supporting.

When it comes to the highest good, we talk about the dignity of human beings who need to be valued. Christ said, "I was hungry, and you fulfilled my need for food. I was thirsty, and you gave me the wine. I was cold, and you covered me with clothes. Whatever you do for others, you do for me. When you give food to the one who is starving, you did it unto me."

We need to be empathetic in understanding the need of poor people who struggle to have their ends met. Many times we neglect them but, to be a real follower of Christ, we need to serve the poor and the needy.

Ward Barry

Thanks Michael. An excellent analysis.

Wrote the poem seeing mothers from the settlements struggling to make ends meet during the lockdown. Christianity is about serving humanity. Unfortunately, it is often lost in the pursuit of profit and power.

I was hoping some of our churches would assist its members, especially those in the settlements, during the lockdown. Many of them are struggling to survive. Yet, the leaders keep asking for offerings. This is unchristian and cruel.

Philip Fitzpatrick

I thought I might experiment this year and keep a collection of poems that appear on PNG Attitude that appeal to me or attract positive comments from readers.

The idea would be to simply list the poems in date order with any interesting comments reproduced below 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.

Perhaps call it something like "Papua New Guinean Poetry - the year of the plague. Poetry published by PNG Attitude 2020".

I've got about half a dozen poems so far.

Michael Dom

A poem of the powerful naïve character.

There is no question of the morality; it is self evident.

The matter of religious teaching is not elevated to some ideal purpose, despite the idealistic desire, it is grounded in reality.

"keep the songs that lift
you to heaven if your stares
will push my sister away"

To deny heaven is to accept nature. Is not my sister nature incarnate?

"keep your sermon that scares
me into submission
while you sleep with the deaconess"

Rejecting false ideology and the immoral action, which the naïve character finds repulsive.

"keep your prophetic gift
it is pushing me back
into the darkness"

Embracing nature which exists apart from philosophical lectures on desire and meaning, and returning to the heart of the argument "that says everyone matters".

Or a poem of the intense and perceptive sentimental character.

In the satire of the same above, where reality is deficient to the ideal.

The songs that uplift are not encompassing or have rejected their subjects, or at least one essential party of them, the feminine.

And seeming to stretch the boundary of religious teaching beyond its current identified (unstated) limitations and into a revised spirituality - one which engages with the rejected and outcast from prevailing religious morality, namely here the gay brother.

The punishing satire rebukes and yet reflects on the ideal for a greater morality than is portrayed in the present real life.

Appreciating this poem is an acknowledgment of the duality of human experiences.

This is good.

Ward Barry

Thanks Phil. Would be honoured to have it featured in an anthology.

Philip Fitzpatrick

That is one of your best poems yet Ward.

So simple and straight to the point. A definite entry in the 'Anthology of Papua New Guinean Poetry'.

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