The fate of James Ward

November 24, 2007 at 3:36 am (Fiction) ()

Bill Clayton never forgot James Ward. His memory came up again when Bill read that George Mallory’s body had been found on Everest but not his camera. James’s camera had been found but not his body. Would Mallory’s camera tell us if he got to the top of Everest? Would finding James’s body tell us what had happened to him? The mysteries and ironies of life will always be with us but in Churchill’s words: “This is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end but it is perhaps the end of the beginning.”

Sepik people do not forget taim bilong bipo (olden times) so for them the past is a living memory. The masalai (spirits of the forests) live on and it is pleasing to think of James Ward amongst them in some sort of immortal state. It is memory that raises people from the dead, or in William Batak’s words: Tingting kirapim man i dai pinis. The people in this tale might be forgotten outside the Sepik but they will live on in the Tok Pisin (Pidgin talk) of Sepiks.

Dispela planti tok long samting long lapun man bilong wara Sepik. ( This is a lot of talk by an old man from the Sepik River.)

Em tasol (That’s all)

Excerpt from Sepik Blu Longpela Muruk

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