This poem is dedicated to all Papua New Guinean writers; fighting to find their voice in the literary world. To my readers, if you can relate to this poem and it applies to how you feel at this moment, then it is for you too.
The fragrant beauty of the frangipani always makes me homesick for Papua New Guinea. It also takes me across the ocean and the Pacific Islands. I am slowly building up my collection of frangipani in my garden in Brisbane and hope one day I could be surrounded by a variety of fragrances all year around. These are only three types out of the 12 different species I have.
The name frangipani came from an Italian perfume made to scent gloves in the 16th Century; the maker was called Marquis Frangipani. The scientific name for these beauties is Plumeria (as known in America). The genus name, Plumeria, commemorates Charles Plumier, a seventeenth century French botanist. The flower is native to Central America, Venezuela and Mexico. And, it grows across the Pacific Islands, Asia and other tropical countries.
some of you may know I was invited to become a Crocodile Prize organising committee member last year – after winning the Children’s Category. Since September 2015, a small committee of volunteer Papua New Guinea writers have worked tirelessly to get this year’s competition started.
Despite a few challenges, we are very proud to announce the Papua New Guinea National Literature Award for 2016 opens today. Prizes are given for best short story, illustration, poetry, children’s stories, heritage and journalism/essays.
The Crocodile Prize is open to Papua New Guinea citizens. Visit us on http://www.crocodileprize.com
Here is the chairman Baka Bina’s speech from today’s launch in Port Moresby.
Samarai is a gorgeous place. I visited Samarai 20 years ago and loved it. It is a shame that the authorities let it run down, especially when it held historical significance for Papua New Guinea from the 1920s. Thank you for sharing this post, sister Islandmeri.
Visit here for Samarai archival images from 1900s. Read additional history from Loosenuts blog.
The south side of Samarai Island. The sight of a lone man in his canoe – still the main mode of transport for many people in these islands.
It was a short trip to Samarai from Doini Island – less than 30 minutes. I had never seen the island from this side before.
The Kwato Mission boats, MV Osiri and MV Labini would berth here some Saturdays bringing shoppers from Kwato and the famous homemade Kwato bread and buns. These were a popular hit as the ladies always returned to Kwato with the large empty bread basins.
Many happy memories of this wharf especially when the mission boats, MV Osiri and MV Labini would berth here for Kwato islanders to do their shopping at Samarai’s two main department stores – Steamships and Burns Philp and many other shops such as the hardware store.
Samarai was the District headquarters for the Milne Bay District before the advent of provinces. It was a hub for many islanders…
Ten ducklings had their first day with their mother in the water yesterday. The Pacific Black duck pair had been living in our backyard this last year. These are their first hatchlings.
The test begins now to see if they would all survive into autumn. Last night, between 7pm and 9pm, Nathan, Chris and I barely managed to put them into a safe enclosure for the night.
At 4:30am this morning, I woke up to some loud scrapping sounds only to find, it wasn’t the usual suspects, the possums, but the local rascal, the wild cat that kills birds in our neighbourhood. The cat tried to get into the enclosure. I got out, just in time to chase it away.
Here is one of my earlier short stories that I published on this blog in 2014. I have not been writing much, but painting and drawing. I have to finish some old projects. I hope you enjoy “Where My Eyes Are From”.
I turned to face the door and sat down in the centre edge. It was the softest part of mama’s large queen-size bed. I ran my large grey eyes over the bed. They never miss a thing. Papa had built this bed. The bed was rustic but sturdy. Because of the many years in the timbers, the bed talks like an old man when you are on it. Right now, the bed is not talking because I am not moving. The white cotton sheets were crumpled and warm. I wanted to climb into the sheets, make the bed talk, like mama and I used to when we would read together and play, but I could not.
We had buried mama at 3pm. The day had been long and tiring.
The few friends and family returned to our small two bedroom cottage on the edge of town in the hills of Mt Crosby, Queensland. The offering of sweet tea and cake to the mourners wrapped the day. However, the sweet tea did not sit well nor change the taste in my mouth. Soon, they left papa and me. We sat together on the old small veranda and did not speak. The old swing did the talking to the slight breeze. At 15, I knew half of papa was buried with mama this afternoon. I could not think of anything to say to papa.
The day hurried past. Soon, it burnt orangey into dusk. The ambers from the remains of the daylight pierced through the small white cottage.
“You can go to her room” Papa had said close to 5pm.
I saw the small clock on mama’s bedside as I sat down. Mama’s room smelt like vanilla with faint coffee. I had tried to shut out the noises with the door, but I could hear the puppies. All five of them ready for their milk. They needed their mother. A sharp pain went through me.
My hand felt under the pillow slip and I found it. The small white envelope mama promised before she took her last breath. I gazed back at the door. I waited. My heart started to race.
Through the gaps in the window I caught the late breeze approaching carrying bush smells of gum and acacia. I could hear my father humming “Gershwin’s Summer Time” and rocking in the old chair. The chair squeak was rhythmic and soothing. It re-assured me of his location. I did not want him to come in.
The house seemed to mimic Papa’s humming and suddenly I felt the sadness heavy in my chest. Papa was a real sweet man. Not only did he lose his woman, but his best friend.
I sat still and held mama’s envelope; firmed by the content of its small card. In this envelope was something mama wanted only me to know. My stomach did not feel right and I knew it was something I do not wish to know.
The room held on to the last of day light. In this dim light I read my name written neatly across with dainty curls. Mama always made a point of making big long tails in letters ‘y’ and “g”. My name was Margaret Meadows. Mama shortened it to “Maggy” with a “y” instead of an “ie” like in other Margies which was short for Margaret.
I brought the card closer to my nose. It smelt of vanilla too. This made me smile and my eyes salted. I felt that weight in my chest move up to choke me. I looked at mama’s photo of us in a white frame by the bed. Tears rolled down my eyes. Slowly, I pinched the corner of the white envelope and slit the end through with my index finger. This forced the white envelope open to reveal a small red card.
I eased back on the bed. The old man-bed groaned softly. I felt I needed some support and security before I opened the red card. I let my shoes drop on the wooden floor. I stared at the door; hoping papa would not come in. I need to be alone when I read this. That was what mama wanted.
“My Love Maggy,
You were born a beautiful baby of glorious soft honey skin, pink lips, fair hair and long arms and legs. You were a fairy with piercing eyes. I swear if you had wings, you would have flown away. Your eyes always had a mysterious twinkle. When you were little, I often wondered if you were worried or just curious about your eyes because you asked me many times why your eyes were different from your father’s and mine. As you know, we both have brown eyes.
I need you to understand that Paul Meadows loves you like his own daughter. There is not a single person that loves you more and not a single reason to be ashamed of who you are.
Your grey eyes came from a man named Peter Sullivan who was once your father Paul’s best friend. Last year, I found out that he died in a car accident while driving back to Brisbane from New South Wales.
When an artist and a poet come together, even by coincidence, this is what happens – something cool.
These poetic pendants were made by Cynthia Murray and she placed into the concave of each shell. selected verses from 1920’s book of poetry by John Keats. The shells were a gift from Cynthia’s mother (as a handbag) that she never used. When the idea finally came, she took the shells off the handbag and turned them into single poetic pendants.
We all hate the constant advertisement on TV and other campaign channels. Each time, smart advertising reaches further into what surrounds us, our every day life. So much so that we cannot separate advertising from what we do and see on TV and digital programmes.
“The real question is not: How many ads do we see? The real question is: What do we have to do to see no ads? And the answer is: go to sleep” (James B. Twitchell). The advertisers are unable to reach us when we sleep. Our dreams are the last safe and add-free place or so it seems.
But what happens when advertisers have the possibility to enter our dreams? Based on recent developments in brain science and technology. Could this “ad dreaming” be possible in the near future?
The armoured beauty here is Bronze Orange bug, or Shield Bug of Queensland and New South Wales. According to the Queensland Museum, it is also called Musgraveia sulciventris.
These bugs suck sap from the shoots of citrus plants, and when in large numbers can cause them to wilt. This was the case at my friend’s house where the bugs completely took over her lime tree. Adults and nymphs secrete a corrosive, smelly substance and are able to squirt it a considerable distance.
It is hard to imagine that such a beautiful thing could be so smelly and cause so much damage. The orange bugs are part of the tropical Family Tessaratomidae, and there are 15 of them in total. They grow to 25mm long.
While its native food plants are wild limes, the Bronze Orange Bug has become a pest of cultivated citrus. This species is found in forests, gardens and citrus orchards in coastal areas from Rockhampton, Queensland to Wollongong, New South Wales.