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putim liklik iau tasol

Sea shellsMAIKEL DOM

igatim planti tumas

        solwara i tromoi

  wanwan dei


  yu askim mi long

           liklik karanas ia

         antap long palang

         planti taim tumas

           yumi abrusim

      ol kainkain

    liklik samting

       dispela em

       mi luksave


small listening devices


there are squillions

      washed up on shore

every day


        you ask me about

           this little shell

             on my shelf

   too often

         we have ignored

such trivial things

       this one

      i noticed         


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Lindsay F Bond

Not all vermouth is produced in Vermont, but even if only 333 millilitres, its about taste in the spirit Michael-lah.

(Was the comment intended for topic "Masters & slaves, 21st century style"?)

It was and has been relocated by the author - KJ

Lindsay F Bond

Along with encouragement from Michael, my support for Raymond is more that of seeing thoughtfully designed vehicles at work guided by drivers of care and precision.

You may have seen the vehicle advertising slogan, “Go Your Own Way”.


That slogan, and many that are similar, are used to cognate with potential customers. This is indicative of receptivity in the demographic of customers for a vehicle and similar audience for writers.

Opportunity in Tok Pisin is surely an open road, and hopefully appreciated by folk along your way.

Michael Dom

Hi Raymond, thank you for your time, thoughts and data credits to comment here.

My thoughts to delineate a Tok Pisin version of tok-singsing were like so.

In the suggested Tok Pisin term for poetry, Tok-singsing, the hyphenated 'term' is derived from tok, meaning talk/speech/language and singsing, meaning song/musical/melodious, affords us some wonderful combinations: talk-song, musical-speech and language-melodious, or the last in reverse, melodious-language or musical language, by all of which poetry is identified.

This seemed to me to be more substantive than a pidginized poetri, which is simply saying the same word with a different spelling.

Albeit, that poses the long argued and intimate conundrum; what is the definition of poetry, i.e. what is poetry?

Then again, it might be suggested that this Tok Pisin definition answers the (more important?) question; what does a poem do?

So, does this mean that the term tok-singsing is a noun and a verb?

Perhaps a linguist would advise us.

To me the examples of pidginized words which you also mention are good reasons why I try to avoid resorting to Pinglish until it's absolutely necessary, i.e. the sound of sense is my rule.

So here 'abrusim' sounded like the real action of us ignoring, as in we have 'passed by' the shell, which collectively is referred to as karanas but here applied in the singular as an image.

The choice of palang for shelf may have more to do with localizing the image (shelves are made of planks of wood), as well as simplifying the text, since the poem is concrete and minimalist, or in other words keeping it short and sweet.

Similarly, the term "usim" in your comments' first phrase could be replaced by "makim" to read as: "gutpla long lukim yu "makim" displa Tok Pisin "abrusim" long senisim Inglis "ignore".

That sounds like the right sense in the action of selecting that specific word, literally "marking it" for use.

But I digress.

Thanks again, Raymond, for your valuable comments.

You've made my Sunday evening more interesting than the five rerun movies I've put on hold to respond.

Raymond Sigimet

Maikel, gutpla long lukim yu usim displa Tok Pisin "abrusim" long senisim Inglis "ignore".

Mi save, yu yet save pinis olsem Tok Pisin wok long kamap narapla Inglis nau we ol manmeri na pikinini sot kat tasol long displa Inglis word "ignore" wantaim displa Tok Pisin na Pinglish "ignorim".

Mi tu traim tanim-tok blong displa "tok singsing" blong yu na mi lukim (na harim) olsem displa Tok Pisin na Pinglish "ignorim" i no karai swit long iau blong mi.

Em i nogat suga blong en. Na tu, mi sotwin liklik long painim gutpla Tok Pisin na Pinglish blong kisim ples (na kalarim gut) displa tupla Inglis "shell" na "shelf". So mi lusim olsem.

Mi tu traim long tingim displa Tok Pisin "abrusim" i kam we tru. Em tok Inglis o Jemani o Latin o Kuanua o wanpla tok ples nambaut. Tasol mi gat tingting olsem em kam long Tok Inglis "abhor(s)" bikos mining i laik klostu liklik.

Tenk yu Maikel long mi ritim ol tingting blong yu long yumi mas noken lus tingting long raitim "poetri" o tok-singsing usim Tok Pisin. Wankain olsem yu, mi save Tok Pisin i gatim kala na stail tu blong en.

Na sori, Keith, mi rait usim Tok Pisin. Longpla taim tru mi no bin rait olsem.

Mi hamamas long Tok Pisin olsem yu wokim ia, tasol Pinglis bagarapim ia blo mi na mekim het i pen - KJ

Michael Dom

Actually this is an old poem Keith, but I'm glad if the Tok Pisin translation makes it sound new.

Although this poem fell out of its original format the essence is still there (

I'm doing a number of translations on selected poems and would appreciate reading what people think of these 'new' versions.

I find the Tok Pisin versions are sometimes difficult to derive but may also provide startling results.

In this one I like the imagery of 'solwara i tromoi' and the detail of 'liklik karanas ia / antap long palang'.

Also, the variations of Tok Pisin utterance makes for signature effects, like 'igatim' which is a version of 'igat'.

I've also chosen ''abrusim' for 'ignored', instead of a longer 'ino luksave', whereas I've used 'luksave' for noticed.

I'm sure others would have made distinctly different wording or phrasing choices.

Sorry about the formatting issues, wantok, but as you know the Typepad platform is very limited when it comes to poetic contortions and gymnastics - KJ

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