New writing Feed



The rain is running like a cresting fever
pushing the tide on the swollen river
painting buildings thermometer silver
palling the streets that sweat and shiver.

My study window is moist with tears
the roof is weak and a leak appears
dribbles down the wall like passing years
gathers in a puddle of lurking fears.

Continue reading "Rain" »

Goodbye, my little Jena, goodbye


SHORT STORY - I was 32 when my wife died. Little Jena was only four. My bookshop - in front of my house, separated by the yard - sustained our livelihood and paid the bills.

Each day, while my assistant and I worked in the shop fulfilling orders from clients, Jena played in the yard.

In the evening I would sometimes go out for a few drinks and Julie, the woman next door, would take care of Jena.

Continue reading "Goodbye, my little Jena, goodbye" »

The Old Justice Is Dead

| Ples Singsing - A PNG Writers' Blog

The old justice is dead, and lost to time
Where once in the hausman it chanted at night
Amidst broken betel nut and waft of lime
Spoken in a chanted glow of embers’ light

Burnt and buried, the old justice of the past
Where balance and order were societal norm
Calling upon ancestors and act not in haste
To pass judgement from man’s earthly worm

Continue reading "The Old Justice Is Dead" »

Under This Cement Slab

| Ples Singsing - A PNG Writers' Blog

Under this decorated slab
A person with unused treasures lies
Treasures so huge for an entire country
Because our years are numbered
And life can be very short
Under the slab are untold treasures

Under this slab lies a wealthy man
Silent, closed eyes, a mind no more
A dead body in a small single room
With its wealth worth many millions
Sadly unused before his time was up
Under this slab also a person of worth

Continue reading "Under This Cement Slab" »

Croc victim had skipped church service

Victor is gently unloaded from the Samaritan Aviation aircraft
Victor is gently unloaded from the
Samaritan Aviation floatplane

| Samaritan Aviation

MT HAGEN - The skies were clear on a Sunday when we received a call requesting lifesaving transport after a crocodile attack on a young man.

Victor was one of two teenagers who had been fishing. While helping his friend retrieve a fish from the water, a crocodile clamped down on Victor’s leg.

Continue reading "Croc victim had skipped church service" »

Chained in the abyss

Once proud
Pharaoh Ramses of Egypt.
His pride led to his downfall


Provide him with stale bread, I’ll give the crumbs.
Let us feed him from our banquet of emptiness,
Let him scavenge for the barest morsels;
For vanity, he forsook eternity for time.

Let him dwell in small dens, long vacated by mortals,
Or under the sediment left by crumbling ruins,
Of a once proud monarch now long obsolete. 
In dark days, when misery gathers like dung,

Continue reading "Chained in the abyss" »

Like a Wish

Image by Pinterest


This morning I dribbled toast crumbs on my feet;
I saw our driveway moping under a moody coat of mould,
while the pock-marked skin of our cul-de-sac needed pothole patching again,
and down on Gibson’s Road some vandal had overturned rubbish bins on the street.
Today two angry dog owners snarled at each other at my coffee stand,
on TV dark flooding rivers were drowning sad towns in the south,
while Putin killed Ukrainians with drone-dropped belts of heat.

The real world seemed to droop in its defeat.

Continue reading "Like a Wish" »

Hard gig: Life & times of Pukpuk publishing


TUMBY BAY - Pukpuk Publications came into being in 2013 when I was looking for a cheaper alternative to the Port Moresby-based publisher we'd used for the 2011 and 2012 editions of what had become the annual Crocodile Prize Anthology.

Birdwing Books had done a good job on the first two anthologies but their prices were too high for our very limited budget.

Continue reading "Hard gig: Life & times of Pukpuk publishing" »

Eventful morning on the shores of Tumby Bay

Fitz   Second Creek with Tumby Island
Second Creek with a distant Tumby Island


TUMBY BAY - They drive to the end of the track and park their cars. Then they walk down to the beach across the white sand, and stand on the rocks staring at the ocean.

Just visible on the horizon is Reevesby Island, the largest of the 20 or so islands and islets of the Sir Joseph Banks Group that lie about 20 twenty kilometres southeast of Tumby Bay.

Continue reading "Eventful morning on the shores of Tumby Bay" »

Tandem Regina Mortua


QE2porcelain dollR J HAUSER

Tandem Regina Mortua (At Last, the Queen Died)

The frothy surf of media guff is slowly ebbing
on its receding tide of feigned sincerity
leaving a beached society exposed by
the shallow waves of sentimentality.

She looked like a little porcelain statue
in the end, shiny and polished and strained,
the mouth stretched in a painful smile,
her face, pleated with lines, quite drained.

Continue reading "Tandem Regina Mortua" »


Richard Hauser
Richard Hauser


For her birthday, my wife Sylvia was given a huge jigsaw puzzle of more than 13,000 pieces

My life is a jigsaw
its scattered confetti of peace and connection
a love progeny waiting for the final
myriad detritus colourful after the life
with lost purpose searching with meaning
my fitful open tabs for completion components
of wedding and left with longing of little pieces
of a meaningful picture.

My life is a jigsaw
its myriad components
scattered detritus
of colourful confetti
left after the wedding
of a longing life
with lost little pieces
of peace and purpose
searching for connection
with meaning and love
my fitful progeny
waiting with open tabs
for the final completion
of a meaningful picture.

Blue Hills


Blue_Hills_dustjacketWe often heard Dad walking the long way home
from heavy farm chores through the winter dusk
clearing his sinuses with a snort and a spit in
the gutter and slipping into a bold hillbilly yodel
his spirits elevated by a day’s exacting labour
and prospects of a family meal and a warm kitchen.

In stifling summer heat no-one wanted to move
but he would drag his unwilling brood and a few
old stagers out into the humid midday glare
to dodge redbacks and snakes in the pumpkin patch
or screw the tops off heads of bleeding beetroots
mouthing maxims of worn wisdom he found there.

Continue reading "Blue Hills" »

The Local Party


The local Party
It’s been brought to my attention,
Now that you’ve liked to mention,
It’s decidedly the time for a clean-up.

For the state of the local Party,
Has become a media ‘Tarty’,
And it’s clearly lost its celebrated way.

So for all those ‘True Believers’,
Who resisted going to the cleaners,
It sure isn’t how it used to be.

And while seeming to be quaint,
In line with Democracy, it ain’t,
No matter the different picture that you paint.

Continue reading "The Local Party" »

The Dancing Waves


On the surface of the mysterious blue
Unseen wind kissing saltwater surface
Curving white clouds of rumbling bubbles
Forcing the waves to follow in a curve
Like morning fog on the tree tops

A dancing queen with a glistening crown
Smiling and swinging in magic rhythm
Like Motu frangipani petals swaying
Stalked on soft frizzy and kinky hair
Waving steadily in ceaseless cadence

Continue reading "The Dancing Waves" »

Grandfather’s Day


I’ve been suggesting to my grandchildren that we ought to celebrate Grandfather’s Day

In my grandfather’s day life was grim
enduring the Depression and the Wars,
it seemed as if the hard times wrung him out|
and squeezed his life force slowly through his pores

I’ve been a grandfather myself for twenty years.
I’ve learned the rules of family push and shove,
and how my times have proved quite opportune
to demonstrate strong service acts of love.

Continue reading "Grandfather’s Day" »

Birth of a Papuan Tragedy


Psychopathology of the coloniser and colonised

They taught me how to celebrate Christmas and New Year,
but they did not teach me how to honour and celebrate my humanity.
I was taught how to get to heaven and how to avoid hell,
but I was never taught how to live on this planet
as a human being – the only place I know.
I was taught to see myself in God’s image,
but they never respected that image.
They taught me how to be religious,
but they did not teach me how to be a human being.
They preached the gospel of progress and development to me,
but they did not tell me how these gospels would destroy me.

Continue reading "Birth of a Papuan Tragedy" »

Getting Old


I turned seventy-six in August

I sometimes wonder about the trajectory of getting old
which is less like a steady ascent to a bright summit
than it is the awkward stumbling down a slope
to a dark vale where visions pale and hopes plummet.

Not that keen on the encouragement you get from others
whose words are meant to comfort themselves, not you,
self-assurances they won’t be called on that soon to help
and their own last years will merge with a gentle twilight too.

Continue reading "Getting Old" »

R J Hauser’s poems of wisdom and humanity


NOOSA – Ingrid and I are fortunate to share our leafy neighbourhood with many fine and gifted people, one of whom, Richard Hauser, happens to be an outstanding poet.

Fairly recently, Australia lost Les Murray and Clive James from our midst, but thank heavens we still have RJ Hauser – a man whose works are always wise, provocative, bathed in a warm glow of humanity and very Australian.

These days, Richard - who is about my age, that is, getting on a bit - spurns wider publication of his works.

Continue reading "R J Hauser’s poems of wisdom and humanity" »

Uplifting poetry for those crushed by life

This book is for you who are struggling to get out of your abusive situation and escape the wounds of the past, Survive and Thrive will help disentangle you from victimhood. For you are not a victim but a survivor, a victor, a warrior

Lydia Gah
Lydia Gah - mediator, counsellor,  family law consultant, author, speaker

| Ples Singsing

Survive and Thrive: My Courageous Journey Out of Domestic Violence by Lydia Gah, Holistic Journeys, March 2020, 112 pages, paperback. ISBN-10: 1925884988. Purchase here from Amazon, $31.05

MOOROOBOOL, QLD - Don’t just survive through life – thrive in your life. In August 2020, I published Survive and Thrive, my account of surviving domestic violence.

Discover the secrets to living a life you desire – during and after your journey of abuse.

Continue reading "Uplifting poetry for those crushed by life" »

Poetry for Peace



There’s a tremblin’ in the Kremlin,
And a rumour in the Duma,
That it‘s a serious time to definitely make a change,
For there’s those who can’t deny,
That there’s no good reason why,
Putin’s downfall's taking too long to arrange.

The Old Justice is Dead

"The old justice is dead, and lost to time / Where once in the hausman it chanted at night  / Amidst broken betel nut and waft of lime /  Spoken in a chanted glow of embers’ light"



The old justice is dead, and lost to time
Where once in the hausman it chanted at night 
Amidst broken betel nut and waft of lime 
Spoken in a chanted glow of embers’ light

Burnt and buried, the old justice of the past
Where balance and order were societal norm 
Calling upon ancestors and act not in haste 
To pass judgement from man’s earthly worm

Continue reading "The Old Justice is Dead" »

Beyond the Corridor

"The dark passage is only life's score / Let not your fear triumph in this fight / Be brave, take those steps towards the door"



There's something beyond the corridor
For the air is filled and sour with fright
But be brave, take those steps to the door

Each step squeaks and squeals along the floor
Fear abounds and races through the night
There is something beyond the corridor

The dark passage is only life's score
Let not your fear triumph in this fight
Be brave, take those steps towards the door

Take heart with each step to the door
Amidst shadows standing silent as the night
There is something beyond the corridor

And that something wants you to explore
It's not out of reach, just out of sight
Be brave, take those steps through the door

By our values, the portions are not equal

The political economy of a pig farmer’s life


Dom -pigs

1,  28 December 2012

Until you have seen your hands blistering
Until you have felt sweat break like fever
Before another new gardens planting

Until you have cleaned the piss and manure
Cut, carried and replaced sodden bedding
Until you have closed the sow with the boar

Continue reading "By our values, the portions are not equal" »

Meeting Penny

"I heard footsteps brushing against the grass and crackling the dry leaves. I looked up and was surprised to see a pretty young woman, all Afro and earrings"

Penny 2


FLASH FICTION - This is my story of Penny, someone I met unexpectedly. On a Wednesday.

Our meeting was extraordinary and it happened on this particularly insignificant Wednesday.

I got to know that Penny is a Capricorn, born in the month of January.

Continue reading "Meeting Penny" »

Sumatin magazine opens a box of delights

“There are many writers wondering where PNG is heading and when the vicious cycles of political corruption, poor economic development and social decay will end. Papua New Guinea is a nation in denial” - Sumatin

Dom Magasin cover top


NOOSA – Sumatin magazine, published by Michael Dom and his energetic team at Ples Singsing, is billed as the ‘space for Papua New Guinean creativity’ and is a wonderful initiative that has revived the fading literary flame lit by the Crocodile Prize.

Sumatin magazine issue 2 of July 2022, which you can access here, is a free, online production featuring both original content and relevant writing drawn largely from Ples Singsing, PNG Attitude and DevPolicy Blog.

Continue reading "Sumatin magazine opens a box of delights" »

God’s last stopping place. But what of Nutu?

“But when they came they hid you in the Book / And said you weren’t from around this place / We searched 'til we had nowhere else to look…”

A young Mengen woman, Matanakaka, bringing food back from the garden to the village (Françoise Panoff)


ORO - I wrote this sonnet as I thought about some of the ideas arising from my interviews and other observations while conducting fieldwork amongst the Mengen (or Maenge) people of Jacquinot Bay in East New Britain.

The concept of God was a principle theme of most of my interlocutors. Nutu is one of the central characters in Maenge mythology.

Continue reading "God’s last stopping place. But what of Nutu?" »

My Son

I'll give you the world my little one / I'll raise you properly-even with father gone / So rock-a-bye baby / Don't you ever cry / Grow child grow, grow up and be a better man

Baby (Nick Hedges)
(Photography by Nick Hedges)


Your father disowned you and I cried
Silently in my heart and swallowed my pride
Isolated from the village and gossip of men
Pain, oh such sweet-bitter pain

Continue reading "My Son" »

An elegy for an ended war & an uneasy peace

The resplendent rugged terrain of Oro does not easily reveal the stories of those ragged bloody heroes, foreign and local alike, who trudged across this landscape 80 years ago

Bablis - beach of peace

| Ples Singsing - A PNG Writer's Blog

GORARI ORO - I wrote this poem sitting in my house in the middle of Gorari village thinking about this beautiful land that is steeped in the history of World War II as well as its own traditional history.

The title of the poem, 'Oro to This Place of War and Peace', points to Oro as knowing war and continuing to know it through its lingering effects and consequent materiality even in this time of peace.

Continue reading "An elegy for an ended war & an uneasy peace" »

The Epic of Jonah and The Great Repentance

"Toss me in the sea, let it swallow me!" /  They threw Jonah into this great tempest /  "God! We're innocent and let us be free!" / And the sea grew calm amidst this great test

Ch 1

Chapter I 


The voice of the Lord God came to Jonah 

"Go now and tell Nineveh, the great city.

"Your wickedness, to Me, has climbed higher."

But Jonah fled to Tarshish, near the sea.

Continue reading "The Epic of Jonah and The Great Repentance" »

What if....

'Without you, I’m as a mirror so tarnished / pushed out of sight to the back of the room / awaiting a jeweler to give me my clarity / But, now you’re here, my radiance renewed'

A Mirror


Time passes swiftly each time we talk
The world disappears when I hear your voice
Even if we both say nothing, it still feels
like the best conversation, it’s never awkward
even a vacuum filled with prolonged silence
For just hearing you breathe keeps me alive
Now I’m wondering ‘what if ‘?

Continue reading "What if...." »

Just a little walk in the dark

'I’m fed up with how my family compares me to a whale with limbs. Why in the name of my beloved ancestor did I let this bugger tag along?'



Bro, hariap ya! Plis o! Move a little faster yah.”

He kept talking and irritating me, like a betel nut stain on a wall.

I’m big for my size and quite slow. That's why.

I'm also fed up with the nagging. I truly am.

Continue reading "Just a little walk in the dark" »

What must have happened to Ma?

Baka  Daniel & Jimmy  Gembogl  2016
Baka Bina with fellow award-winning writers author Daniel Kumbon and poet Jimmy Drekore on an excursion to Gembogl from a literary convention in Kundiawa in the PNG Highlands, 2016


NOOSA – Yesterday Baka Bina was announced as one of five Pacific regional finalists in the prestigious Commonwealth short story prize, the first Papua New Guinean to be thus honoured and chosen from 6,730 entries before the international judging panel. The original story is in Tok Pisin and PNG Attitude is delighted to be able to present this English version, translated by Baka himself, for our readers - KJ

Continue reading "What must have happened to Ma?" »

The thin looking-glass veneer

| Ples Singsing


One day when I opened my mouth to speak
I heard a language I did not understand
I went to the bathroom to take a peek
At my reflection in the sky-roofed mirror and
To my relief the face was my very own

So I said, "Oh it's you,
I thought for a moment you were gone"
And mirror-me smirked back through
The thin looking-glass veneer
"Yes, it's me, you know I'm no voice in your head"

Continue reading "The thin looking-glass veneer" »

Asking if we write is the wrong question

Dom top
Michael Dom - "Beier, Fitzpatrick and Jackson were opening up avenues for PNG writing". Dom and his associates are more likely to develop a design that will  enable it to flourish

Ples Singsing

A Tok Pisin translation of this article follows this English version

NARI STATION, MOROBE - It was my impression that one of the questions bothering Philip Fitzpatrick around 2010, as he ruminated about his once adopted Melanesian home, was that, if Papua New Guineans are writing, then where is the published evidence?

The question I raise is about the field of literary endeavour rather than the academic and workplace necessity of writing.

I refer not to that boring stuff which earns money but the thrilling stuff that returns to us nothing but self-satisfaction and relief.

Continue reading "Asking if we write is the wrong question" »

‘Christ smelled like a king….’

Graphic by Greg Rosenke


The inspiration for this poem came as Dr Unia Api,
a lecturer at Pacific Adventist University, spoke in
chapel to Sonoma Adventist College theology
students on Wednesday
16 March, 2022 - SD

At Simon’s saddest banquet feast,
a costly perfume of purest nard
was poured on the body of Christ.
The sparkling oil flowing down,
and aroma sweet filling the room;
‘Christ smelled like a king’

Continue reading "‘Christ smelled like a king….’" »