Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Hidden Power - Herman Talingapua

Slowly the moon climbs
along its silvery path
over Kumbu mountain.
Palm trees cast the shadows
of their rough bodies
across my path,
their wombs
heavy with sago.
Avoiding the wind,
coconut trees bend low.
Leleki baskets
hang from the roof of the men's house
pregnant with secrets
and power.
But I,
the 'modern man',
complete with suit,
despatch case and transistor set,
shall never know
what hidden happiness or strength
is tied up in these baskets.
My age and 'learning' not withstanding,
I am excluded.
Uninitiated,
condemned to sleep with women,
unfit to carry shield and spear.

Herman Talingapua (20th century) Papua New Guinea
Source: Modern Poetry from Papua New Guinea, Volume I, Edited by Nigel Krauth and Elton Brash, Papua Pocket Poets, 1972

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