A sugar cane thatched roof, open house
Four front wooden posts, four at the back, four feet high floor;
Between posts, coconut plaited blinds hung;
A leaned-on dish rack on three posts, stood out like mother’s bun
Relatives’ kids from Savaii
Attended school in Apia
There was no choice but stay in the sugar cane
Thatched roof open house
Walked to school miles and miles abound.
Sixpence it was for a quarter piece of butter
Bread for a shilling but for us
Two breads were better for a crown
Certainly adds a smile not a frown
Lemon leaves and raw brown sugar to taste,
Were thrown in the cast iron kettle of boiling water;
That’s breakfast for our parents, sons and daughters.
Countless cousins and relatives, shared their portions
Father’s treasures of needles, cotton and thread –
Colourful buttons in a clear glass they were hoarded
A piece of steel for a lock
Were fond memories kept in my mind and heart.
He patched his own clothes and mended pillows.
At times, father asked: “Did anyone take my cotton, needle and
Thread?’ Mum and the kids shrugged their shoulders
And said, “”We don’t know” meaning “Ka’ilo”
”Ka’ilo or I don’t know” was a standing joke, When things go
Missing, everyone’s name was “Ka’ilo” be it a child, girl or a
bloke. It is a worry now that I am aged, when approaching the setting sun of my life, Alzheimers, Dementia or plain forgetfulness,
“Ka’ilo” or I don’t know, will be finally laid to rest.