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You see dried grass over rough cut logs

Village_Scene_at_KaloMICHAEL DOM

You see dried grass over rough cut logs
And the earth floor of my house
When I open my home to you
And you think to yourself how you can help me.
And yet…

I smelled the air that morning we cut the kunai grass
And I heard the children laughing as they played
On the green knoll beside us
And I tasted the sweet sour sweat
As we hewed the living trees to earth.
I felt the heat of day and the burning flames
As this house was dried and bound
By light of bright blue day above
And in the deepest dark of night.

I recall the evenings we ate the green-cook
That the old women brought us
(God bless pig fat!)
Because they saw our toil
And loved their grandchildren.
But I do not know and lament bitterly
How could I help you know?

So, this is what I would pray
If God would listen to me once
On one night of His majestic eternity
High above the sparks of my fire place
Give my friend peace, if you are truly god
With the blessing that only heavens knows
Because I have much to be grateful for
But so little to give.
Let my friend understand that I too know

That we are here and now, each of us, alive
And we love too.

Yu lukim drai garas antap long ol rap kat diwai

Village_Scene_at_Moapa _Aroma_DistrictTRANSLATED BY RAYMOND SIGIMET

Yu lukim drai garas antap long rap kat diwai     
Na giraun plo blong haus blong mi
Taim mi opim haus dua long yu
Na yu tingting long yu yet hau yu ken halivim mi.
Na yet …

Mi simelim tuhat blong dispela moning mipela katim kunai garas
Na mi harim ol pikinini wok lap taim ol pilai
Antap long grinpela liklik maunten sait long mitupela
Na mi teistim switpela saua tuhat
Taim mipela wok katim ol diwai i sanap go daun long giraun.
Mi pilim hot blong san wantaim paia lait
Bilong wanem dispela haus i stap drai na karamap
Wantaim bikpela lait blong blu skai antap
Na insait long bikpela tudak blong nait.

Mi tingim bek ol abinun mitupela kaikai kumu
Em dispela lapun meri i bin bringim kam long yumi
(God i ken blesim gris pik!)
Bikos ol lukim mitupela wok hat
Na laikim ol tumbuna
Tasol mi i no save na karai nogut tru
Hau bai mi halivim yu long save?

Olsem nau, dispela em wanem samting bai mi beten
Sapos God bai harim mi wanpela taim tasol
Long wanpela nait insait long glori blong Em oltaim oltaim
Antap tru long paia kalap long paia ples
Givim poro blong mi bel isi, sapos yu god tru tru

Wantaim gutpela sindaun we heven tasol i save
Bikos mi gat planti tumas long tok tenk yu long
Tasol liklik tru long givim.
Larim poro blong mi save olsem mi tu save
Olsem mitupela stap hia na nau, mitupela yet, i stap laip
Na mitupela gat laikim tu.

Notes on the Tok Pisin translation

Rap kat is a Pinglish equivalent to the phrase ‘rough-cut’.

Apart from that, the difficult phrase to translate was “on one night of His majestic eternity“.

For all plural words, the Tok Pisin plural marker ‘ol’ is used. Plural pronouns were translated based on the context of the poem.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Philip Fitzpatrick

Hey Michael - John Kamasua is into slam poetry, have a yarn with him.

Michael Dom

Mr John K Kamasua, thank you for your high appraisal.

John K Kamasua

To read Michael Dom is always fresh, thrilling, entertaining and often challenging.....

Lindsay F Bond

....and singing while carrying sheaves of fresh cut grass?

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