To An Oceanic Artist-Gone Too Soon

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(For Tuilagi Seiuli Allan Alo)

 

by Sia Figel

 

Ua maliliu toa

Ua maumau ai auupega o le taua

 

Warriors have fallen

And with them, the weapons of war

 

Today we are summoned by the Heavens 

Today the skies have been split in two

Today the clouds wander aimlessly

Under a blood red Sun

A fallen Moon

And silent constellations that have lost their luster

Where is our blazing star?

Our radiant light of Hope?

Our fearless two-spirited warrior

That set Oceania on fire

And burnt the dance of life 

Into our Pacific imagination

Brother of our hearts

Friend of our souls

Our matai---our Mama-teacher 

Son of Vaisala--ua tafea le tauofe

Ua sola le tofa

Aue!

 

The birds of dawn, manu ole vaveao

Have heard our grief 

They have travelled far and wide

To comfort us

But the joy on their tongues has disappeared

Swallowed by the silence of the Night

That has tasted the pools of salt 

In our grief-stricken eyes

 

Each of us has a story

Each of us has a long tale 

Cocooned in our memory

Of your colorful contradictions

Lived with wild authenticity

Your demanding ways of perfection

Your pains and perpetual passions

Your fiery brilliance

Your loud flamboyance

Your quiet humility 

And that infectious laugh that could be heard all the way from Suva

Auckland, Oslo, Singapore, South Africa, Honolulu, Apia

Filled with the flames of love you gave so freely 

 

What a privilege for us to have known you, dearest

Your loyalty

Your determination

Your warrior spirit

Your heart

Grateful always

Even when the Cancer ate at the lines of your pea 

You simply smiled 

That gorgeous smile

That refused to give in

And fought till the very end

 

Come now dear friend

Come now dearest one

It is time to go

May your journey to the ancestors

Be as joyous

As our time here on this precious Earth

 

There are many stories yet to be told

Many poems yet to be written

Many dances yet to be choreographed

And danced and danced and danced

Across this great blue ocean

By a new generation inspired

By the light of your life

That radiated for us all

 

May the infinity of Atua

Embrace us in these dark days

As we seek solace in their alofa

As we say farewell, to you our beloved Feleni

Our forever young Oceanic artist 

In perpetual light

And love

Ia manuia lau malaga Ailani

Tofa, tofa, tofa ia.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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