Monday, February 12, 2018

Monu'ia Big Mama!

Cyclone Gita nears Tonga tonight, endangering not only people & fale but entire islands. I'm thinking of Ana 'Big Mama' Emberson, who with her husband is custodian of Pangaimotu, an atoll rich in history & poor in size. In 2014 Cyclone Ian turned part of the island to desert. 
Pangaimotu was home to a famous temple where chiefs came to hear kava-drunk priests ventriloquise the gods. Beach rock was quarried for royals' monumental tombs; cuttings can still be seen at low tide. Cook anchored at the island; Pompallier held Tonga's first Catholic mass there.
For all its history, though, Pangaimotu is barely a quarter of a square kilometre in size. It's one of a score of atolls that adorn Nuku'alofa harbour. When storms come the islands list like holed ships. In 2014, Monuafe atoll sunk completely below the waves.
Monu'ia Big Mama!


Blogger Jennifer Compton said...

I came upon your Homage To Tongan Poets in BNZP and that's how I found your blog. Such a trenchant and moving poem. And now I have seen news of Gita. Timing can sometimes be so - timely.

kind regards - Jennifer Compton

3:45 pm  
Anonymous Scott Hamilton said...

Thanks for your kind words Jennifer. I've been a lazy with the blog lately, but am twittering away - it's a format that suits having small kids!

2:25 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

I just read an interview with Alistair Paterson in the latest PNZ Review and Jennifer Compton's name was mentioned. Also I saw her name in 1985 when I got Morrsaey's 'The New Fiction'

Indeed that is a good poem Scott. It was on here first wasn't it?

All the best to both.

1:28 am  
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