Between islands
Francis Nii tribute book is well underway

Of Masks and Meanings


Masks protect
They conceal
They hold back
Then they reveal

They identify
They distinguish
They may terrify
But may also save you future anguish

To wear or not to wear?
That is the question
Keeping your health
Or inhibiting fresh circulation of air?  

But looking on the face of it
What is the benefit
Of wearing a mask
Just for the hell of it?

Some say it’s a discomfort
Others say it’s necessary
I’ll forgo my current comfort
For the sake of my pulmonary.

Even if you’re a skeptic
Is there any harm
In wearing a mask
Just as a prophylactic?

It really isn’t a novelty,
To mask up for a reason?
It is a traditional proclivity
To mask up in the right season?

Kamap olsem ol Duk-Duk
Bilong Ist Niu Briten
Ol i no sa suruk
Long taim bilong wokim kastam

O kain olsem ol Tubuan
Ol meri masalai
Em ol gutpla poroman
Lo kastam bilong ol Tolai

Custom and duty
Why should we cover our face?
Is it like wearing jewelry,
Or our saving grace?

Traim tingim ol Holosa
Bilong wonem ol werim mask?
Antap long kol ples Goroka
Ol i gat sampla task. 

Na tingim tu ol Elema
Mask bilong tewel bilong wara
Em ol lain bilong yumi long Kerema
Ol lain bilong stap lareva.

Is it a personal choice
Or a government decision
To muffle your voice
With the new face fashion?

To wear or not to wear?
That is the question
To fear or not to fear?
Personal decision or government stipulation?

For some, wearing a mask
Inhibits breathing
For others, it’s no farce
For it enables living.

But let not the law
Take away my right
To breathe alone in my car
When I’m driving home at night.

If I’m in a crowded place
And I forget to mask my face
Then I accept a penalty
As long as it’s not too hefty.

Niupla Pasin Protocol
That is the ‘new normal’
To follow W-H-O or GoPNG,
What’s the verdict of the public jury?

Of masks and symbolism
What is the appeal?
Without going into tribalism,
Generally to protect or veil.

Protecting or taking away half your face?
Whichever side you propagate
Let us all find common place
In this great mask debate.


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Lindsay F Bond

Just about the rite fit, Gregory (two words used by the late Francis Nii) easing a population into tight 'treadwear', mask or adverse encumbrance, can be sweetened by your tru verse.

True this Covid's without cure
Used that veiling spun 'alure'
Ups the task, new adventure
Truth that asks simple vesture
Thus unveiling of the ask.

Michael Dom

Good summary for the mask debate.

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