Samples Of The South Sea Soul

Traveling to less privileged countries where you don’t speak the language, many tend to disregard that culture as inferior to their own. Of course, once you penetrate the soul of the place you realize that the locals are every bit as deep and every bit as human as yourself. Reading the literature there is usually a good indication for understanding what goes in the local hearts and minds. The other day, I was lucky to find a Tongan poetry collection translated into English and I wish to share these great 3 samples with you…



A Poem


The children sleep blanketed in their skins

Close to the hairy fibre of their long chasing dreams

And I who watch to note such passing things

Know that that which is may be what merely seems


Like silken textures coarsened dark from light

The sleep of children curls and unfurls with change–

          which is my plight:

Even as I resist or welcome sleep, blanketed in skin

There is a hairy waking to what lies within


                    Leialoha Apo Perkins


Now where did that image go?

Imagine sailing for many hours in the vast Pacific Ocean when suddenly you see birds, and waves breaking differently, indicating land nearby. And then you arrive at this little bump which you can walk around leisurely in about 8 minutes!


Decorations, baloons, hollies hail

the coming of Christmas.

Mothers roam

clutching parcels, children

eyes bright cling

to their mother’s sides

point to their favourite toys.


Sun sets

and music is in the air;

bright lights twinkle and flutter, laughter

and joy drift

through the shortened night, its



Goodwill towards men

an old story retold many times

as the couple sit with the children.

A simple meal, a lonely candle

a lot of peace and love

clothe the celebration of Christmas.


                    Lu’isa Finau


Now where did that image go?

From Foa island in the Ha’apai island group, you can see this volcanic island on a clear day. It stands at nearly 1000 meters and is uninhabitable. A real imagination igniting image.


The Shell (for Mike)


What does it matter

If the shell you’ve built

Around you is broken –

Think of the life

That is born

New eager to grow


The waves do not choose

Their beach

Nor the stars

The land

The trees will sway

With the wind

The gardenia must yield

at dawn


Once I tried

To shut you out

A feeble attempt perhaps

Now the thoughts are lost

And tangled

You refuse to fade away


It might have taken

Many a lifelines

For the polyps to build

An island

But it took only one dreamtime

To break the shell

Letting life learn anew


                    Konai Helu Thaman


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