(Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Ta’isi Efi, Bahai Manurewa, Aukland, NZ, 17 June 2017)

It is difficult to translate the idiom, the idiosyncrasy, and uniqueness of one language and culture into another language and culture. And it is a given that every language suffers in translation.

In Samoan custom and usage we chant our laments. For example,

Oi aue la’u Tuie
Oi aue la’u Tuie
Le Tu’i a manu o lo ua ave
Oi aue la’u Tuie

In the English language, there are powerful elegies and laments expressing love and mourning about people who have passed on.

Today I want to share with you quotes from the work of the Poet Wystan Hugh Auden:

He was my North, my South, my East and West,

My working week and my Sunday rest,

My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;

I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;

Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;

Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.

For nothing now can ever come to any good.

In conclusion, I will always remember our last goodbye.

Our family meeting at Tuaefu was dispersing and she was heading for the door. Just before she reached the door, she stopped, turned and looked at me. There was a glow in her face. Then she started walking towards me. When she reached me, she smiled, kissed me goodbye and left.

The lesson she leaves behind in that gesture is: Don’t ever miss an opportunity to say I love you; because it may be for the last time.

God keep and guide you Pu’a till we meet again.