Australia – not that great a country
Fencemending: France, Australia & the Pacific

Yesterday we dreamed

Francis Nii top
Francis Nii

| Ples Singsing

LAE – About 10 years ago on the afternoon of Thursday 15 September, the inaugural Crocodile Prize awards ceremony was held at the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby.

That was the first time I met Francis Sina Nii.

Ples Singsing is inspired by his selfless example as a senior writer, poet, essayist, editor and publisher who helped many Papua New Guinean writers from Simbu achieve their dream of presenting their work and publishing their own books.

I remember Francis Nii and his vision, it’s a dream we keep alive at Ples Singsing. It’s happening, it’s not a fanciful dream, we keep it real.

Man Bilong Buk (The Bookman), an extensive collection of Francis Nii’s shorter writing, together with other writers’ appraisals of his life and work, is available here as free download. The book is also available in hard copy from Amazon here.

Yesterday we dreamed

Michael Dom
Michael Dom


It was not so long ago
less even than a lifetime or so
when our nation was so young
and our history had just begun

Then, they stood them all
forefathers tall
and blessed us
with an anthem song

We forward went, hither sent
each tribe and clan
in this proud Melanesian land
every son and daughter born
united we did stand
with transient shackles shorn
as a new day did dawn

Did then we dare to dream
and transcend as one
Have our ancestors been told
how far we have come?

What do we tell of,
what praise, what glory,
that children will hear
as pleasant bedtime stories?

Our Guardians now indulge
in self-serving histrionics
while idle sons
and beleaguered daughters
survive on informal economics

Where now, the integrity of Chiefs
that they may bless us truly
where too, the vigour of youth
that will ensure a victory?

How now our mothers and children
bear the brunt of brutality
when we fail to act rightly

What future lies in our hands?
Who will fulfill this people’s destiny?

O arise all ye sons of this land
Let us sing of our joy to be free…
Only yesterday we dreamed
Let us sleep no more


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