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…”

GREGORY BABLIS – posted on PNG Attitude blog

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.

Central in any discussion of their spiritual world was whether this being is foreign to the Mengens.

Or whether “we the people knew Him before they [the missionaries] came”.

Melanesia was the last place within Oceania to be Christianised.

Was it also the last place God visited?

___________

The Selenelion

A sonnet by Gregory Bablis

We the people knew Him before they came
His art and beauty we saw every day
We imbued Him into our hausboi’s frame
Gardens grow not least ’cause to Him we pray

Bountiful harvests are a normal trend
Many fish we get from around the bay
You’d think the seafood buffet wouldn’t end
We call – and tuna come at no delay

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
Far away we fell from your saving grace

Still every day you watch us from the sky
When celestial bodies perch up on high.

Read more about the Mengan (Maenge) people here

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: