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Covid days: the poetry of the pandemic


TUMBY BAY – Early in the year, as the coronavirus was beginning to spread, I thought it might be interesting to make a collection of poetry published on PNG Attitude over the ensuing months.

My expectation was that the virus would have a large impact on Papua New Guinea and that would be reflected in the poetry.

As it turned out the impact of the virus has apparently and thankfully not been as bad as many people expected.

That may be because of the lack of reporting. It may be that the worst is yet to come.

That speculation aside, the collection so far has been interesting and worth publishing, especially with the comments from readers I have included in the text.

All things being equal I’ll publish a paperback and an eBook sometime in January next year.

This is the list of poems collected so far:

Contemplating - Maria-Rose Sau
The Money Man - Raymond Sigimet
Go Bek Gen - Raymond Sigimet
The River Died - Raymond Sigimet
Her Pain is Private - Wardley Barry
Wanpela Dei Tasol Insait Long Covid-19 - Michael Dom
Keep Your Heaven - Wardley Barry
A Million Ideas & Millions Gone – Simon Davidson
Coronavirus Pandemic – Stephanie Alois
In Their Cocoon – Dominica Are
Covid-19 2020 – Joseph Tambure
A Pandemic Far Worse Than Covid-19 – Wardley Barry
The Man in the Mirror – Michael Dom
Morning – Raymond Sigimet
Sunset Artwork the Mighty Artist – Stephanie Alois
Relentless – Stephanie Alois
Till Death Do Us Part - Hezron Wangi Jr
A Million Miles in a Million Lies - Eric Molong
Loves Left Unsaid – Stephanie Alois
The Chase - Gideon Kindiwa
Eh, Mi Seksek – Michael Dom
Och, Ah’m Crazy – Michael Dom
On the Mend at Last – Keith Jackson
He Has Had Enough – Wardley Barry
Superheroes They Live Among Us – Caroline Evari
Our Words Must Speak For Peace Not Strife – Michael Dom
The Melanesian – Wardley Barry
Coviet Straggler in Paradise – Gregory Bablis
Reckless Healing – Stephanie Alois
Ohh Sine-Gai Tine – Edwin Lako
On Masks and Meanings – Gregory Bablis
How – Stephanie Alois
Let Words Not Be Silent or Sleep Alone – Raymond Sigimet
A Menace Called Fear – Raymond Sigimet
All True Stewards of Nature – Iso Yawi
Arise All You! – Joseph Tambure
From an Old Poet – Wardley Barry
Destined for Me – Hilda David-Aipi
The Corona Virus – Joy Milamala
Tonight the Moon Carries Her Umbrella – Michael Dom
Kiluwe, Oh Kiluwe – Samuel Lucas Kafuguli
Simbu Courtship – Jimmy Awagl

If you have a good poem that you think might be worth including in the collection, you’ve still got a couple of weeks to get it to Keith for publication in PNG Attitude and possible inclusion.

Maybe next year we can do a collection of short stories.


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Jimmy Awagl

So much gratitude Phil, I have a lot of poems from my end regarding Covid 19, they are published on social media, however I am happy to see Simbu Courtship is included from the list.
So much gratitude.

Philip Fitzpatrick

Very good Chips - how long did it take to knock it together?

It's interesting that when the lockdowns were lifted people immediately headed for the shops and the pub, although I'm not sure in what order.

We need a PNG version of your poem for the collection.

Chips Mackellar

Perhaps Phil, the PNG poets could compare the situation there with the way it was in Australia which was like this:

It came upon us like a plague from the past,
And now we don't know how wide it will cast,
And no one can tell us how long it will stay,
And now there are even rules to obey,

Like no school for the kids, no footy for us,
Can't sit too close in a car or a bus,
Can't even sit in the park or the beach,
Can't sneeze to close, must stay out of reach.

People in Europe are dying like flies,
And if not locked down this is no surprise.
The doctors say if we all stay house bound,
We'll all survive this, and survive safe and sound,
But all over Queensland, in every bush town,

The virus is causing some shops to shut down,
And driving is banned, with cops out on guard,
Big fines they are giving makes travel so hard.

Must wash our hands while singing a song,
Can't go to work with this virus so strong.
Must stay at home till I get bored to death,
And yell at the kids, till I'm all out of breath,

Can't drink with my mates down there at the pub,
Can't even go to the RSL Club.
Get nagged by my wife to mow our front lawn,
Until now I wish I had never been born.

ScoMo says we must flatten the curve,
I'd flatten him, if I had half a nerve.
But I have to confess, he has done a good job,
He's kept me alive along with our mob,

And I would give him our thanks, if he was just here,
But I'd tell him it's not the virus I fear,
And he would soon see that I feel I've been cursed
And he'd open the pubs lest I soon die of thirst.

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