poem: Tupela i go long PNG

Tupela i go long PNG; tripela i kam bak

We married; hadn’t known each other long

Then left our home for work in Papua

Remote from art and all the things she knew.

The place was sick and people often died

The work was scary; life seemed fragile; death

Was always there; my hospital a place

To die when magic failed. Perhaps I’d been

Too confident in seeking such a job.

I coped; but took its toll on Prue; the way

Of life up there too hard for delicate

And milder souls; she needed something else.

Young doctor often stressed by urgencies

In surgery, obstetrics; drove the hearse

And ambulance as well. The folk up there

Were mostly kind to us, and happy with

The simple life unburdened by the stuff

We seem to need; made Oz seem rich beyond

Compare, but ugly seeking so much wealth.

Thus Eve arrived, so tiny, perfect. Oh

The power of love for offspring! Papua

No longer safe with precious child; then back

We came to Oz; the city air was full

Of muck and lead, the veges too; so off

We went to live in rural Vic;  I made

A job in Mirboo North where docs were scarce.

kerema marketKerema market

 

Independence Day , Kerema

Independence Day, Kerema

Andy, Philippa and Maggie Hall

middle Sepik

Middle Sepik village

Eve after birth; the Woodroffes in Tas

PNG: Eve leaving Kerema, late 1979

PNG:  farewelling Kerema with baby Eve at 4 months, late 1979

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