PNG Poets Can Get Help

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Chips Mackellar

Papua New Guinean poets intending on brushing up their poetry for the Crocodile Prize can get help from Australian poet Malcolm Mackellar or Chips as he is known to friends.

Chips has offered to look at your poems and offer suggestions to improve the rhyme and metre.

“My reason for asking to help PNG poets, is to encourage them to write better poetry. Whilst PNG poets are to be praised for their work, unfortunately the so called poems I have seen in lack rhyme and metre. Not surprising as I suppose no one has showed them how”, Chips said.

After completing his education in Australia, Chips served in Papua New Guinea from 1953 to 1981.

He started as a patrol officer, then Assistant District Commissioner, and finally District Court Magistrate. His postings included; Western District, Western Highlands, Madang, Milne Bay, Morobe, Enga and his final posting was as District Court Magistrate, Ela Beach Court House, Port Moresby. Chips speaks English, Pidgin, Police Motu, and Indonesian Bahasa.

The Committee 2016 is proud to have Chips on board to assist PNG poets. Please send your poems to crocprize@gmail.com and the selected poems will be posted here with some advice from Chips.  Here is one of Malcolm Mackellar’s own poems.

The Patrol Post in the Sky ©Malcolm Mackellar
There’s a Patrol Post in the sky, above the sea near Lae,
Nor’nor West of Samarai, South-East of Hansa Bay.
It has palm trees waving in the moon, where mosquitoes sting at night,
And canoes out on the blue lagoon, awaiting fish to bite.
It smells of kunai in the rain, and smoke from the valley floor,
And you’ll hear the pounding surf again, on the reef beyond the shore.

It’s the place where all the kiaps go, when their life on earth is through,
And they talk with all the friends they know, of the things they used to do.
They talk of all the times now past, and of places far away,
And of all the memories that last, of Independence Day.
They talk of sights and sounds and smells, and people they all knew,
Of bugle calls and mission bells, of garamut and kundu.

Of days gone by in Samarai, and windswept coral cays,
Of tribal fight and freezing nights, and misty Highland days,
Of black-palm floors and tidal bores, and life on the River Fly,
The Kavieng Club and the bottom pub, with a thirst you couldn’t buy,
Of Highland roads and carrier loads, at the time when we were there,
Of bailer-shell pearls and Trobriand girls, with flowers in their hair.

And when we say good bye to you, don’t mourn us when we go,
For the Big DC will call us too, and this of course we know.
That last patrol will take us all, along that well worn track,
But the difference with this final call, is that we won’t be coming back.
And our parting should not cause you pain, it’s not sad for us to die,
For we shall all soon meet again, in that Patrol Post in the Sky..

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