Fijians he respected while making
social (or class?) distinctions:
the most of them he did not regard as Children
of Nature, perhaps more proprietorially.
The local buli, now, he emerged
from Father’s stories as kin to
Bosmabo of the River;
the Fijian medical man,
trained at Suva, topped off at Sydney,
a cross between a medical orderly, witchdoctor,
con man, one who was smart and had to be
the ratu, nothing but respect
for him, he was church school and Sydney,
a right collegian along with right people.
And Oliver – Oliver was a class apart,
He did not see them (in retrospect)
as victims. To an extent exploited, yes, of course,
yet also exploiting if able, understandably.
Yet with reserve: I saw him once
meeting with one of the, if not himself, the
highest in the islanders’ hierarchy
to whom he was firm, cool, and probably
His attitude said, “I haven’t tuppence in my pocket,
neither am I of a usurping line”
which was how he thought of the Cacobaus,
caring as little for as he cared
for the main merchant princes of Suva.
Contrariwise he much esteemed
old Captain Robbie of Levuka
outside Milne and Choyce’s in Queen Street
as it was, stopped, removing his hat to
the Queen of Tonga, recalling to her
some distant (if at all) memories
complimentary to her father
not altogether a child of his times.