Where Am I From?

23 October 2020

GREGORY BABLIS

My land (Human Rights Watch)

A poem about identity and unity and the things
that make us different yet interlink us

I am from land,
          from river, sea and mountain.
I am from valley and volcano,
          from chilly mountain breeze and steaming lava.
I am from mother, father, uncle and aunty,
          proud in traditions, passed through generations.
I am from a wild,
          yet structured social organisation,
          of stories untold and yet to be told,
          lingering in the present and seeping to the future.

I’m from village and hauslain,
          from clan, tribe and totem,
          from haus tambaran and hausman.
I’m from round-house and long-house,
          from haus-kukhausboi and hausmeri.
I’m from high covenant home and the Pineapple Building,
          from Kapal Haus and Deloitte Tower.  

I’m from coconut and betel nut,
          from fish, magani and pig
I’m from Ox & Palm, Dolly and Diana,
          from Trukai rice, lamb flap, sago and Whagi Besta
I’m from the highland and island
          from the coast and atoll.
I’m from Krapehem and Gararua,
          clans I have yet to make proud.
From conch shell, tavur, pig tusk and garamut,
           whose wisdom I have yet to acquire.
I’m from mainline church and evangelical church,
          from Catholic and Lutheran,
          to SSEC, CRC, COC and AOG.

I’m from spirit and masalai,
           from dukduk and tumbuan.
I’m from Mande Tuo, Datagaliwabe and Yaweh
           from God-Three-One and the One-True-God,
          who my ancestors knew by many names.

The mat and the laplap,
            on which I sleep,
            provide me no extra warmth
            from freezing temperature.

But the dream that I dream,
            of my forefathers’ legacy,
            comforts me all my days,
            until I meet them again.

I’m from Dareni Primary School and Awaba Secondary School,
            from UPNG, Unitech and UOG,
             from student groups,
            standing and walking tall and free.

I’m from many languages and many cultures,
            many actions and many words,
            spoken and unspoken,
            deeds done and yet to be done.

I’m from many faces and many places,
            many beliefs and many voices.

And so,
            I’m from only one place on earth.
I am from Papua New Guinea. 

This poem first appeared on PNG Attitude on 28 July 2016 at https://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2016/07/where-am-i-from.html.

Published by Ples Singsing

Ples Singsing is envisioned to be a new platform for Papua Niuginian expressions of creativity, ingenuity and originality in art and culture. We deliberately highlight these two very broad themes as they can encompass the diverse subjects, from technology, medicine and architecture to linguistics, music, fishing, gardening et cetera. Papua Niuginian ways of thinking, living, believing, communicating, dying and so on can cover the gamut of academic, journalistic or opinionated writing and we believe that unless we give ourselves a platform to talk about and discuss these things in an open, free and non-exclusively academic space that they may remain the fodder for academics, journalists and other types of writers alone. New social media platforms have given every individual a personal space to share their feelings and ideas openly, sometimes without immediate censure. The Ples Singsing writer’s blog would like to provide another more structured platform for Papua Niuginian expressions in written, visual and audio formats while also providing some regulation of the type and content of materials to be shared publicly.

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