Poetry reviews: persistent & emerging voices

Raymond Sigimet’s sparks of brilliance now and then set the page ablaze

MICHAEL DOM

Mirror On The Wall: selected poems, short stories and expositions by Raymond Muso Sigimet. JDT Publications, Port Moresby, 2018. 92 pp. ISBN-13: 978-1724-22-495-8. Amazon Books, paperback $7.41

A Window To My House: Collection of Poems by Raymond Muso Sigimet. JDT Publications, Port Moresby, 2018. 70 pp. ISBN-10: 1724225383, ISBN-13 978-1724225382, Amazon Books, paperback $9. 96

OVER THE LAST TWO WEEKS I have been reading and then reading to review Telly Orekavala’s recent book, Cry My Beloved Country. The poems are proving to be a source of fascination and inspiration too, and I will soon be providing Telly with my critique of his book.

Telly’s background as a teacher reminded me of another writer/poet Raymond Sigimet, whose writing I have enjoyed reading on PNG Attitude since 2015 and now on Ples Singsing blog, with the most recent poems I froze and Yangpela marit, demonstrating his entry into a new phase of writing.

It’s my impression that Raymond is building up to the publication of another book collection of poetry and prose.

If that is the case then his recent poems indicate that the material will be a valuable and high quality addition to Papua Niugini’s literary output.

Raymond is a storyteller of some skill, as demonstrated by his short-stories and occasional expositions, which provide excellent reading. While his poetry has evolved from early pieces with a more free verse narrative (My Child) and loosely structured verse (My peace is for you to live a life extraordinary) into elegantly structured verse with superb rhyming schemes (Let words be not silent or sleep alone) and classical fixed form villanelle (Bigger words to say I’m sorry), and even on the simplest poems Raymonds talent affords a shoreline (The island is calling) surface shine that draws the reader into its cool refreshing depths.

Thinking about the last three poems in 2021 I wrote that “Raymond’s poetry is like Christmas lights on ‘slo-glo’ mode. Watching from afar it looks like an ethereal wave as each bulb fades dimmer then builds up to a fiery sparkle. At the moment when most of the bulbs are waving down there’s that brief chance to catch your breath on a poem that leaves a residual glimmer of the lights in your brain“.

Sometimes that glimmering sounds like a melodious verse as in Let words be not silent or sleep alone; “Have all good poems been written / That we today have none to write / What then of the difficult mundane / The highs and lows we must bite / Or the hopes that we bear in spite”. When a poem leaves a residual glow, you know that it’s good“.

In Raymonds 2019 International Poetry Day message he provided insights into his art in a message that was an inspiration to his fellow writers now working on Ples Singsing, and outlined key reasons it was important that we should promote and support PNG authors for PNG readers.

“I believe that humans have shared experiences that transcend time and space and when these are captured effectively in a simple poem or story with a simple message, the reader is able to relive those experiences, relate to the poetry and perhaps be inspired to create change” …

“PNG at this time needs a national literature that must speak of the aspirations of the people after more than 40 years of independence”

Raymond Sigimet

More recently, Raymond has connected with Ples Singsing to have some of his newest poems published on our blog. Here below is the first poem, one which speaks in a nationalists voice, You are tresspassing. The poem aligns well with the 2022 World Environment Day theme of our Mini-Poetry Competition.

Poem by Raymond Sigimet 

YOU ARE TRESPASSING!

Halt there, foreigner!
Who are you, stranger?
Stand where you are, man!
You are trespassing!
My forebears stood here
They fought and died here
They bled on this ground
Their blood wet the soil
They farmed and worked here
Their sweat salted this ground
They mourned and buried
Their dead on this ground
Their spirits live here
They breathe on this ground

Halt there, foreigner!
Who are you, stranger?
Stand where you are, man!
You are trespassing!
Papa hunted here
Mama fed me here
My child was born here
My whole life is here
My son hunted here
My daughter bled here
My blood will stand here

Halt there, foreigner!
Who are you, stranger?
Stand where you are, man!
You are trespassing!
Cutting down my trees
Digging up my ground
Poisoning my streams
Stealing my birth right
I do not know you
Who are you, stranger?
You are trespassing!

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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