Voices

“Break the Pen,” A Challenge for Pacific Thinking: A Poem by Mr. Faafetai Aiavā

“Break the Pen,” A Challenge for Pacific Thinking

 By Faafetai Aiavā


Literacy is the mark of learning

This is true, though not entirely

The letter immortalised our thinking

This is true, though not entirely


Many stories lived before the pen

Unwritten wealth of a life back then

Stories that often shape our thinking

Narratives reshaped in our memory keeping

Can a pen truly swim in the depths of Pacific life?

Where the lost and the unborn are intertwined?

Where sacred and profane live side by side?

Where playing with words was a daily rite?

There are always whispers that escape the page

Like sea worms that vanish at the break of day

Even common tales can be wrongly scribed

Like a bonito hauled to the outrigger side


As we yielded to the birth of paper

The pen was made our story-maker

But what of the treasures not on paper,

That thrives without an alleged maker?

The stories we tell are concrete and real

Like the river stones used to cook our meal

While it can be worthless to the printed craft

It is earnestly kept in bamboos of the heart

The longer the letter controls how we think

The more our thinking is enslaved by ink

Break the pen and free your mind!

Inscriptions of love narrated by time


While a book can teach us who God is

It can never exhaust how God exists

For even when we see God in our stories

It is always true, though not entirely


The following is with reference to the photograph used in this post.

Tom Mc Nemar. (2011). Vinatge Fountain Pens. Available from: https://fineartamerica.com/featured/vintage-fountain-pens-tom-mc-nemar.html. [Accessed: 14/8/2017].

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