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Manoa 17.2 (2006) 24-29

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Three Poems

Voyage Through Words and Notes

The music of children flows through my writing, joyous and light,moves in pirouettes, dances and marks the tempo.

It hangs on my thought, pulls it in lively motions, young and free likerock-and-roll, it makes little leaps

And chases itself in large arabesques in the cadence of twist again!

Story of a voyage leaving the water's surface and diving intomulticolored blocks of multiformed coral in the shadowy depthsof the sea,

Where fish turn and maneuver in an endless ballet of quickmovements!
Maito, squirrelfish, manini, and blue fish,

Accompanied in the dance by impassive

Sea anemones of various colors, spiked sea urchins, vana and 'ina,carefully watching their prey,

With poisonous harpoons at the tips of their tentacles,
With articulated spines that perpetually sweep the watery space.

Musical voyage at the bottom of the water of memory of all thatlives there
And exists to show us what its community can teach humanity! [End Page 24] [Begin Page 26]

Slaughter and Depression

The giant palm tree in our garden
Fell yesterday morning

The giant palm tree, so imposing in size
Fell, yesterday morning it fell

The giant palm tree in our garden
Which reigned magnificently over the neighborhood
Welcoming everyone home

Collapsed in a huge crash
Trunk sprawling, fronds stripped
In the crowded space of our garden
In which the giant palm will never again stand
As a result of violent winds

Cut up, gnawed, it will rot in the garden
A sorry end for so beautiful a giant palm

Just before the palm fell,
We lopped the top off the great pine in our garden

Fearing high wind would topple it, damage rooftops,
Since it was over twenty meters high

Our garden's great pine that had
Balanced itself so nobly against powerful winds
Was shortened, plucked, stripped of its plumage

Such a lovely tree rising to the skies
Alongside its huge palm-tree neighbor
Made our house recognizable through the airplane window
Each time we returned home

A page turned a little too lightly
And the drought stalking us with firm step
Awaits the next season [End Page 26]

Humans, we must admit, are thoughtless
And flippant in manner and actions

No regard, no regret for this disastrous end,
The savage lopping of these two
The majestic and tranquil palm, cut down, will never grow again
And the pine deserved more care

This is not to say that it's ingratitude that suffocates us
And we weren't looking to rid ourselves of them

The pine exudes white and red resin
From the wounds on the side facing the sun

I saw dark ridges on its ravaged shoulders
Struck by the spiked shoes of the woodcutters
I caressed its large and flat belly, illumined by the glitter of rain
Certain the pine will grow again, will recover its past magnificence

As for the palm tree, a stump remains
Still tall and strong and for a while
The strength and all the majesty and wisdom
From its full life and the many others nurtured under its shade

It is a reminder of respect to the memory of ancestors,
Of the departed father, of the departed mother,
And at the moment that I write, of the mother-in-law and
The father-in-law whose anniversaries of birth and death
Coincidentally were yesterday, within days
Of the anniversary of my father's death,
Reminders of other ways in which we should not forget them

In this way, the pine and the palm
Will be a little like the father, a little like the mother
Who went forth, releasing their life's work
Detached from time, losing themselves in the moon's phases [End Page 27]

Cutting down the foundational, monumental trees
May liberate us from attachments to the ancient past,
To be our own individual, moving in our own rhythm, listening only to what pleases us

But climbing up the hill leading to the house
How great is the pain we feel, no longer seeing
The giant palm signaling...