After the snake ceremony I was taught the timit songs. Only Saub lnew these songs, and he had to repeat them ten times so that I could learn them. When the time for the timit songs had come Saub rose to his feet. There was silence.
Now you have left your mother’s womb
You have come to this place to receive power.
With this power you must go out and lead -
lead in initiation, lead in fight, lead in peacemaking.
The strength now has been given to you.
From The Crocodile, a novel by Vincent Eri
When the road began to wind downwards, the men became more hopeful. At Wau and Bulolo the villagers were willing to help the carriers with vegetables and fruit. For most of them this was their first time in New Guinea. Nearer to Lae the me saw the “other-side sea”, the waters of Huon Gulf. To remember this occasion, they composed a song which is sung to this day.
Big brothers befriend big brothers
Small brothers befriend small brothers.
Big brothers befriend small brothers -
Small brothers befriend big brothers.
Troubled times draw them close together.
The white man has brought his war to be fought on this land;
His King and Queen have said so.
We are forced against our wishes to help him.
Contributing to a peaceful PNG by Doreen Bauloni
Towards the end of 2013 it was announced that Milne Bay poet Doreen Bauloni had won the inaugural Rivers Award for writing proposing a positive pathway for Papua New Guinea. The Prize was established by Val Rivers, a onetime school teacher in Papua New Guinea and ran as an accompaniment to the Crocodile Prize.
Pass a peppermint Colgate smile
Stretch a copper stained grin
Give it to a stranger without one
Wave your hands to a traveller
Say hello to a passer-by
Shake the hand of someone you meet
Call one another as wantoks
Regardless of the language you speak
Sound the conch of gathering
The feast of friendship be herald
Slaughter the disputes past
Melt the arrows of revenge
In a bonfire of forgiveness
Prepare a banquet of caring
Lay it on a table of sharing
Uniting all race in one accord
Let education not raise the foolish
Who trampled selflessness underfoot
Knowledge be embraced by the wise
Directing each man his path
Let status not shorten the sight
Letting glutton fill able bellies
Overlooks a neighbour’s dire need
The worth of their toil and penny
Chop down the trees of injustice
Clear the scrubs of partiality
Reduce to ashes selfishness
And ignorance be carried no more
Plant the seeds of equality
Let fairness sprout galore
In the fields of every path
That takes one to the humble roots
Park that fifth element
Gather the sixth sense
Walk down the seventh street
The people at the far corner
Be aliens to one no more
We are neighbours astride
Regardless of ethnic origins
In peace and harmony we strive