Papua New Guinea, (b. 1977)
The political economy of a pig farmer’s life
- Until you have seen your hands blistering
- Until you have felt sweat break like fever
- Before another new gardens planting
- Until you have cleaned the piss and manure
- Cut, carried and replaced sodden bedding
- Until you have closed the sow with the boar
- Until then you only have an inkling
- Of what a pig farmer does every day
- For the fat pig meat that you are eating
- You will never know what it means to say
- To us, “agriculture is our back bone”
- Until you know the sweat and costs we pay
- For a simple meal, in our simple home
- Sweet potatoes baked around the fire place
- Cups of tea with sugar, lucky for some
- And every day we hear about your race
- To bring development to your people
- But we know that your heart has no more space
- If you will not share the gris pik* with all
- One day your house built from our bones will fall.
- * pig fat
The poem above is a terza rima in iambic pentameter.
Sonnet 3: I met a pig farmer the other day
- At the foot of Mount Giluwe we met
- A place where they say ice falls from the sky
- We spoke of pork and the lack of good vets
- As we toil’d in his village piggery
- Each planning how his stock would reach market
- Did we both share a wish that pigs could fly?
- Agriculture is our backbone we say
- (Rhetorical ruse on farmers always)
- Yet in our grand plans for development
- We have forgotten what that really meant
- From the highlands to the coastal islands
- The struggle to feed ourselves never ends
- If you met those who’s unheard voices cry
- You too would join me in questioning, why?
About the Poet:
Michael Theophilus Dom (aka: Icarus), Papua New Guinea, (b. 1977) is a poet and a postgraduate researcher at University of Adelaide after earlier degree from the Papua New Guinea National Agriculture Research Institute. Dom is doing science & technology research for developing Papua New Guinea’s smallholder agriculture & livestock sector.
In 2012, Dom won the Poetry Award of PNG’s national literary competition, The Crocodile Prize, for his sonnet (above) ‘I met a pig farmer the other day’.
His first collection of poetry, At another Crossroads, was published by the UPNG Press in 2013. Michael’s second collection, The Musing of an Assistant Pig Keeper, and two chapbooks, O Arise! and Send words as gifts, were published on the CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform in 2015 and 2016 respectively. [DES-11/17]
Although Papua New Guinea is a separate and independent country from Australia or New Zealand, they share many common goals and problems with the other western Pacific rim countries of eastern Asia and the islands of the western Pacific.
I have decided to include Michael Dom in this Australia/New Zealand Anthology even though Dom is a proud citizen of Papua New Guinea. My call… I just felt Dom’s work seemed to fit in here very well.
- Michael Dom reads “The political economy of a pig farmer’s life.”
- Download a free PDF of Dom’s entire book O Arise! – Poems on Papua New Guinea’s Politics & Society here or here