SEVERAL YEARS AGO, Dr. Boli heard of a young man who had the bright idea of applying for the position of poet laureate to the island nation of Kiribati. Much to Dr. Boli’s surprise, the young man’s proposal was accepted. What added to Dr. Boli’s surprise was the fact that the young man, whose idiom was decidedly colloquial, obviously did not know how to pronounce the name “Kiribati,” which Dr. Boli would have thought would be one of the few requirements for his position. Dr. Boli therefore wrote this poem in response, not to compete for the position of poet laureate, but merely for the wholly laudable purpose of showing that he knows how to pronounce “Kiribati,” which the rhyme scheme makes abundantly evident. This is the poem that the poet laureate of Kiribati ought to have written.


Havin’ once seen a Polynesian lass
Who danced in a grass skirt without a top on,
I’m startin’ to believe that Kiribati
Is just the sort of isle I’d like to stop on.
So if you don’t mind payin’ me for sittin’
And writin’ poems (I’m hopin’ that you don’t),
For ten bucks each, I’ll read you what I’ve written—
Or, better yet, for twenty bucks, I won’t.



  1. D.W says:

    Any idea why it’s spelled Kiribati and prounounced ‘Kiribass’?

  2. drboli says:

    The Gilbertese language is wonderfully philosophical and mysterious.

  3. D.W says:

    Well, there’s one mystery I can help you with.

    As I’m sure you know, a group of islands making up present day Kiribati were formerly known as The Gilbert Islands, or The Gilberts.

    In Gilbertese or I-Kiribati there’s no G in their alphabet, nor L, nor S, S is ti.

    K is the closest to G, R closest to L, and ti closest to S, so Gilberts, becomes Kiribati.

    Lest I forget it.

    Nice ditty by the way.

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