A Moving Dedication In Poetry

Marie-Rose Sau reading her poem 'On That Fateful Day', with Jeffry Feeger at work on his and Ratoos Gary's tribute painting on the far right.

I met Marie-Rose Sau, a young Papua New Guinean poet recently at the Royal Papua Yacht Club for a Bemobile-sponsored event. The event featured two iconic artists Jeffry Feeger and Ratoos Gary accompanied by an impressive group of PNG musicians led by PNG’s own Louis Armstrong, Pius Wasi.

The event called ‘Journey Through Stains’ is the brainchild of Jeffry Feeger of national renown and gaining more recognition overseas as well. It was held on Wednesday, 22nd February, 2012 to raise funds for the relatives of those who were lost in the recent MV Rabaul Queen tragedy.

I will write more about this event in a separate post. But for now let’s meet Marie-Rose through her poem, ‘On That Fateful Day’. Marie-Rose read this moving dedication but some of it was inaudible because of background noise. I wanted to kill two birds with one stone so after the event I asked her if I could feature her poem on my blog and she kindly agreed. So here it is.


On That Fateful Day

T’was a glorious day

The setting sun illuminating

The horizon beyond

The sea had seemed calm

As if it were asleep

Sea birds soar up above

No fear for stormy clouds untold

No one thought it would end like this

The unthinkable would happen

It was just another ordinary day

Another journey to make

Another endurance of that cruel

Bismark Sea

Yet families came to bade their

Loved ones a safe journey

Without the knowing that

For some it might

Be their last goodbyes.

Filled with enthusiasm

They rushed through the gates

Onto what might be their last trip

Onboard you

The young ones

Naïve of what was to come

Held on tightly to

Their mamas and their papas

With hearts beating with

Sheer excitement

And then finally

Amidst the commotion

You let go of your anchors one last time

And you set sail

Into the beyond

To meet your fate

Come the stormy weather

And the high seas

And Bismark could not have been too kind

To the innocent lives on board

For it attacked you with a force

You could not withstand

And you plunged

Plunged into the unknown beneath

And for if you were a being

The endless screams

You would not have missed

The frantic prayers that were begged

From quivering mouths

Prayed from hearts beating as for

As if it were their last

Yet you were but a human

And there you tumbled over

Innocence spilled overboard

Lives tossed here and there

Trying to hold on for dear life

To be spared

To be somehow saved

And yet you could not grant that

And oh how mothers cried out

Dearly for those young ones

For a son

For a daughter

For a husband

Fathers braved the merciless waves

To search for their families

Screams be heard

From already broken hearts

Hearts bleeding with fear

For a mother

For a father

A brother

A sister

An aunt

An uncle

A cousin

A friend

That they were afraid to lose

And yet you failed them

And you sank without shame

And you took with you

All that was to someone

You took the world from someone

And you brought it to the bottom

Of the dark seas

And when the sun shone

And the seas they calmed

The pain and the hurt

Of losing what one holds most dearly to

Could not be eased

The endless tears shed

And the screams

The fight to hold on

And the fight to let go

Words could not comfort

For some they found their loved ones

But some they will live another day

With a missing piece

And the knowing that that missing piece

Sank with the MV Rabaul Queen on

That fateful Thursday 2nd of February 2012…

Dedicated to those that survived and to those that were never found onboard the MV Rabaul Queen

Marie-Rose Sau


In her own words, Marie-Rose says, I come from a mixed parentage of Chimbu, East New Britain and Morobe. I started writing poems as early as grade 5. Because of my childhood background, writing poems became a trusted friend to me.

A way for me to speak my feelings. My thoughts, etc. I never gotten any of my writing published per se. It was just a hidden hobby that I kept.

I wrote this poem, because I just lost someone very recently and although it wasn’t as tragic as the Rabaul Queen. That pain of enduring an ordeal like that cannot be described. So I try to write from my own experience of losing a loved one and try to relate that to the ordeal that the victims and those that have lost their loved ones.

I have realized that when, someone dies, in such a way, it is only right to pay tribute to them. for all that they have endured, in some ways, it reminds one that one day later in life, just maybe, something tragic might happen and a stranger will pay tribute too. For me to write that, it somehow gives me some sort of inner peace to say goodbye to the souls of those that were lost.”

I wanted to feature Marie-Rose not only because of this moving piece that she has dedicated to both the survivors and the lost ones but also because it has been a long time for me to hear a poem from another PNG woman as well as meet her which is such a privilege.

Marie-Rose has recently created a group ‘Poetry PNG’ on Facebook. This is a treasure trove of PNG poetry and writing talent being uncovered. It’s illuminating and inspiring stuff. Check it out.

I am featuring Marie-Rose because I want to proactively start promoting PNG women writers whose stars are rising steadily in the PNG writers’ skies following on the impressive heels of such national greats as Nora Vagi Brash who is a poet and playright and many more accomplished and yet to be discovered PNG women poets.

I hope that more PNG women will find their voices through poetry and I wish them confidence, courage and commitment to their art.

Author: islandmeri

Life is a journey which I enjoy. Here I share my passion for helping others, music, ideas, inspiring things, and interesting places and people. It's my cool hangout.

5 thoughts on “A Moving Dedication In Poetry”

  1. Very touching… I admire her joy of poetry and Im sure the Lord will continuously bless her through her life. In life, we all experience loss and we have never talked about nor cried it all out. Reading thru’ her piece of work, my heart sank for she wrote not only her personal feelings about the ship tragedy, but the true emotinal thoughts/feelings of many who have lost a loved one..

    Thanks for sharing the link.
    Blessed Tuesday and regards,

    1. Hi Haitch,

      Thank you for visiting my blog. Many thanks for your warm regards and comments on the post and on Marie-Rose. If you are a member of Facebook visit for Poetry PNG and poems of Marie-Rose.


  2. Well done Marie-Rose. And I like the fact that Feeger was able to find her out of the blue by just asking publicly for people to help with his event.

    The talent is there, we just need the venues and events to draw them out.


    1. Hi Manu,
      Quick off the mark bro. Yes, this young lady is a true artist and I can see her passion come through with the creation of the group Poetry PNG via FB.

      Another artist, Jeffry has got another brainwave – read about it in Contemporary Art on FB too.

      These young ones are going full steam ahead. Power to them and indeed to all of us Papua New Guineans.

      Yes, congratulations to Marie-Rose.


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