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Four Samoan Children's Poems


Mrs Crab is crawling by,
There's only me, there's only I,
Click click click and toodle-oo
I think she's gone to Upolu.

Mrs Crab is crawling by,
There's only me and Malaki;
Is she plums or is she peas?
We're walking in the Sugar Trees.

                *

When it rains like fizzy flies,
I want to swim with Octopies.

When it rains like Koko beads,
I go and swim with centipedes.

When it rains like cookie dough,
Mr Christian says Hello.

When it rains like peas and plums,
Mr Missionary comes.

                *

Oh Mr Octopus, I think
you sleep too long, I saw you sink
and smile and snore
on the soft sea shore.

But now I think you are awake,
and make the waves and water shake,
and splash and spray,
and swim my way!

Oh Mr Octopus, I see
you swoshing up to Savai'i:
I think you might be
mad at me.

So Mr Rat will keep his paws
and keep his tail and keep his claws
entirely dry
and say goodbye.

                *

One, One, the Checker-Chocks,
Two, Two, the Water-Box,
Three-Three, the Make-Me-Fast,
Four-Four, the Palmtree Mast,
Five, the Arm, Six, the Sail,
Seven, the Top and Eight, the Tail.
Now my boat is Made and Manned:
Woodchips scatter on the sand.

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About the translation:
» Read translator's notes
Poet:
Samoan Folk-Songs
Translator:
John Gallas
Original language:
Samoan
Issue:
2015 Number 2 - I WISH...

About the author

Translator

John Gallas

JOHN GALLAS was born in Wellington, New Zealand. He has published ten collections of poetry with Carcanet Press and edited the...

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