2020 Open Call , Poems - Malene Dee Gray Potoura



When Rifles Reign

By Malene Dee Gray Potoura


(This poem is dedicated to my beloved father and to all the innocent people who were assassinated in Bougainville by rebels who turned sour and lost what the true fighters were fighting for. May forgiveness reign among all peoples of Bougainville and may the souls of those killed so mercilessly rest in peace).


Thus embedded in my heart
Dawn came as a curse
Grandpa mist dragged them in
Not his fault though
My awakening that stood still
For Rifles’ rule I saw!


Came hurdling at my door
Sleepy eyed, I witnessed
Nest I called home destroyed
Ransacked to ashes and ruins
Scattered, as I fled and escaped
Rifles fired over my head!


Mothers held their daughters hands
And wept, as the distance closed
Fathers and sons bounded
As they bled and cried
‘Leave our daughters be’
‘Leave our mothers be’
Rifles whacked them!


Brotherhood and colour
Came all to nothingness
Bloodlines and dynasties
Disrespected and destroyed
Love, respect and honour
Erased by the power of rifles!


A long march you took
Beaten and disgraced
No court, no magistrate, no judge
Heard your case
A man without summons
Sentenced by the mandate of rifles!


Two sons turned away
Their backs they gave you
Not hate, not cowardice, not fear
It was love, it was respect, it was admiration
For blood was about to be shed
As rifles were raised and aimed!


For on the bridge you stood
Bravely, powerfully, peacefully
A man sentenced without a hearing
A failed constitution, a failed court house
A failed race, a failed lineage
Rifles fired!


Gift of life ended!
Rolled over that bridge!
Like a criminal!
Like a murderer!
Like a convict!
Like a nothing!


Innocence; twice proven by Divine powers
By One who Created! Magistrate!
By Only Life Giver! Judge!
Crocodiles’ mouths He shut!
Like lions of Daniel!
Rifles ruled; Creator is Ruler!


Now, you rest dear papa
Laid in your own soil
Ground you walked on
Coloured like your skin
Land you loved and treasured
Home of your ancestors
Rest in peace.



Malene Dee Gray Potoura from Papua New Guinea is a teacher and a prolific writer. She writes books for adults and children and recently released a book Dee’s Longs and Shorts.


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