Poems Without Borders

Aloha Odes

Poems Without Borders
Aloha Odes
Poets Without Borders
New York
About the Poet
About the Photographer

"Spirit of Kauai" on a Sunset Sail
Karl Lo Photo | From the backyard | 2.27.2009

The Meaning of Aloha
"The most beautiful Hawaiian word."

Aloha means welcome; what I have you may have, share with me.
Loko maika`i means what I say comes from my heart; I have good intentions.
Olu`olu means happy; happy doing for others, an Hawaiian heritage.
Ha`aha`a means humilitty & meekness; we are happy to serve.
Aloha means love; near or far, you are always in our heart.
(Distributed by Lamb & Lion Marketing)



(1992 – 2010)

Shanarae!  What a melodious name!

It seems it was only yesterday that I heard your name:

Of your leadership ability and community service:

And a future filled with promise waiting for you.

And now I read in todays The Garden Island

Of a fundraiser planned for your funeral!

As I look at your photograph

I wonder what deep secrets took shelter

Behind those knowing eyes:

Secrets so deep they defied understanding,

Secrets so deep they were beyond words,

Secrets so deep you chose to bury them forever.

Alas, you could have attended the youth rally at Lihu`e

And learned a lesson or two from Hawai`is own 

Olympic gold medallist Bryan Clay,

Whose troubled childhood signaled a dismal future.

But his personal walk with God

Led  him to the right path, paving the way

To personal success and athletic triumphs:

To a life worthy of emulation and applause.

The two columns of you and the three of Bryan Clay

Occupy the front page of the newspapers Sundays edition,

Side by side in a most prominent way,

But carry pointedly contrasting messages.

Shanarae!  What a melodious name!

But you decided to deny forever

Your dear mother, younger sister, admiring friends,

Numerous relatives and Kalaheo neighbors

The melody that was Shanarae!

(August  22, 2010)

Runner-up, Kauai Backstory 2010 Competition.  Read at the 7 PM reading on Nov. 22 at Kaua`I Community College Technology Education Building. Estimated attendance:  45/50.

Shanarae Donovan & Bryan Clay made the front page of The Garden Island on Sunday, May 22, 2010.  The author wrote the ODE TO SHANARAE soon after she read the two articles.

On September 15, when she received from Kim Rogers of Kauai Backstory the announcement on the 2010 creative competition, her first impulse was to NOT send an entry, but it occurred to her that the poem she wrote on May 22, 3 months/3 weeks earlier fit the theme of the competition:  REFUGE, so she submitted the poem to Kauai Backstory on September 16.


For Donald Nii

Written by
Catherine Pascual Lo

With Biographical Details
Gladys Nii Fujiuchi,
Edna Nishihara Holdeman,
Victoria Hayashi Mukai
Jean Morishige Marumoto


As the moon and the stars ordained,
we assemble today to welcome back into our midst
the Chairman of Kaua`i High School's Assembly Committee
of two scores and ten years ago.
However, as the honored member of this assembly
Chairman Donald, always polite and a gentleman,
is excused from preparation and cleanup responsibilities.

Pages of the 1955 "Ke Kuhiau" show
a young man with presence and promise
towering over his classmates.
Page 108 and Page 109 glorify Donald's strength
and his talents and awards in shot put.

Today, we return to a special time in our lives
in body and spirit from far and near.
We return to a singular time in our lives
in body and spirit from across the years.

This is no ordinary assembly,
and we are a genteel group so we toast, not roast, Donald.
But his birth ushered in Independence Day in 1937,
and with the 4th of July being a holiday,
it's logical to assume that as a lad growing up in Lihu`e
Don would have had his dessert first:
He enjoyed his cake on the 3rd of July and on the 4th
he feasted on sushi, macaroni and potato salad, hotdogs,
chicken hekka, teriyaki, fried chicken, and ... of course ... rice
at beach picnics and backyard barbecues.

However, as on the football field
where reliable No. 45 spent four high school years,
Donald in adulthood has tackled life's challenges ...
always the captain of his soul.

Suited with a mechanical engineering degree
from Boulder's University of Colorado,
Don did well to try Poughkeepsie, New York, with Honeywell
for it was there that he met and married the honey of his life.

Opportunity moved Donald and Natalie to Minneapolis
where they made their home and watched
their daughter Melanie and son Jonathan grow.

Higher calling encouraged The Nii Family to move to Illinois,
and Arlington Heights was home for many years
before Palatine beckoned Don and Natalie in 2005.

In retirement, Don's lust for life and travel continues,
and he travels often especially to Indianapolis and Michigan
to visit family and friends.

If Don were on Kauai, he may join
the Lihue Seniors Ukulele Group
and make magical music with his sister Gladys.
And he would organize bridge groups at the senior centers
and trade jokes with friends and acquaintances in person
and readily through e-mails.

Today, we assemble to celebrate the past and the present
with The Donald Of Palatine and with one another.
We assemble to celebrate friends and friendships.
We celebrate to validate the blessings and joys of life.
We celebrate to validate the love and blessings of friends.

This assembly will fold into history
after we bid each other goodbye tonight,
energized to embrace the future ...
and we look forward to the next class assembly.
We bid each other aloha with praise and thanksgiving
and return to our communities
to the comfort of our chosen circumstances
and continue to make a difference.

Meanwhile, we enjoy the magic of the evening
at Wailua Marina, Kaua`i, Hawai`i.
But lest we forget ... 2006 is Election Year
and Donald's Democrat friends wish
he would assemble with them behind the Donkey.
(April 28, 2006)



Love is patient; Love is kind.

Love is not jealous; Love is not pompous.

Love is not rude.

Love does not seek its own interests.

Love is not quick-tempered.

Love thinks no evil.

Love does not rejoice over wrongdoing,

But rejoices in the truth.

Love bears all things,

Believes all things,

Hopes all things,

Endures all things.


Love never fails.

And now abide faith, hope, love,

these three;

but the greatest of these is love.


            From 1st Corinthians 13:4-7, 13

H  I  H  

Love and the stars

           brought Floyd and Betty together

           to share 62 years of love and partnership:

                Years filled with experiences beyond expectations,

                    Filled with blessings and rewards

        That flowed like converging rivers.

A  gracious God blessed

        Floyd and Betty threefold: 

        with  daughter Angele and

        with sons Steve and Arion.

        God blessed them fourfold more with grandchildren

        Leah, Robley, Noah, and Luke.

        And the good Lord blessed them once more:

        with a great-granddaughter:  Brittney;

        And with other loved ones and friends

        who surrounded them with love through the years.

Family, relatives, and friends gather this morning

       at Waimea Canyon -- a few miles from Hanapepe,

       where Betty was born.

       They come together in body and spirit

       to remember  and to celebrate,

       and to say ALOHA `OE:

       to a beloved father and a beloved mother,

       to two caring grandparents,

       to two gentle great-grandparents,

       to a talented brother and a thoughtful sister,

       to  a caring aunt and a giving uncle, 

       to two kind friends

       whom they remember

       with love and thanksgiving

       and will hold in their hearts forever.

       (February 3,  2006)     



A Tribute to Dorothy Tao  (1917-1997)

Dorothy, Dorothy,

My fair landlady --

Protector of the good life

On the island of Kaua`i;

Affordable housing is only one of many

Common causes dear to Dorothy.

Dorothy, Dorothy,

My fair landlady.

Dorothy, Dorothy,

Friend of the library --

School, public, academic, special library:

Respecter of knowledge and

Lover of learning

Promoter of reading is she.

Dorothy, Dorothy,

Friend of the library.

Dorothy, Dorothy,

Citizen of Kaua`i -- 

Champion of common causes

Guardian of good government:

Wise use of the land and

Protection of the environment

Are high on her agenda.

Dorothy, Dorothy,

Citizen of Kaua`i.

Dorothy, Dorothy,

Neighbor, friend, colleague, auntie –

Thank you for your continuing service to Kaua`i;

The message to us is clear:

To look at your contributions to our island home

Match your commitment and go do likewise.

Dorothy, Dorothy,

Neighbor, friend, colleague, auntie.

Oct. 29, 1988

Published in Ka Leo o KCC, Nov. 23, 1988


In Celebration of his 60th Birthday

His wife calls him Fritz; 

His friends call him Fred;

Born to Dutch and German parents,

He was named Frederick:

The name of kings, protectors, rulers.

But let the truth be told:

Jager is the hunter.

What’s in a name?

Frederick  by any other name

Is still as kingly.

Legions call him the Luna of the Lua at Kiahuna;

And visitors and locals like him as The Sprout Man

At the Sunshine Market in Koloa;

As Protector of the Land,

Some friends call him the Mayor of Maha`ulepu.

What’s in a name?

Frederick by any other name

Is still as kingly.

Friends who love him dearly,

Relatives who know his strengths,

Envoys who applaud his energy and efficiency,

Diane and Daughters, dutiful and devoted:

    They all bless Fred on his birthday!

    They all wish Fred

Joy in reaching the comfortable and secure age of sixty;

Abundant health and absolute peace;

Good fortune in his golden years;

Experiences beyond expectations;

Riches and rewards that flow like converging rivers.

What’s in a name?

Frederick by any other name 

Is still as kingly. 

        (Copyright Nov. 1999)                                                                                          



(Harriet Ahana Albao:  May 13, 1913 - February 11, 2008)

What can I say of Harriet Albao?

She has the memory of an elephant:

She remembers names, places, and events.

That’s what I can say of Harriet Albao.

She has the sharp eye of an owl:

She can spot misspellings and typographical errors

That many of us do not see.

She has the dedication of a dog

To projects and programs

To which she commits her time, talents, and energy.

What can I say of Harriet Albao?

She has been a driving force

In the on-going project of indexing

The Garden Island newspaper.

A reference tool at public, college, and school libraries

The Garden Island Index is produced

By volunteers like Harriet and me

Under the umbrella of the Kauai Library Association.

Harriet joined the project in April 1983

And few can match her dedication.

She indexed 11 years of issues of the newspaper

And continues to serve as assistant editor today.

A lifetime resident of the Garden Island,

And having served on the staff of the newspaper

From 1933 to 1941, up to the position of news editor,

She is a fountain of knowledge on Kaua`i’s people and history.

Her dedication to details and zeal for accuracy

Have taken her to gravesites at Lihue Cemetery

And All Saints’ Church Cemetery and Columbarium

To check on names and years of birth and death.

Her knowledge of and contact with residents

Empower her to inquire about vital information

From relatives and friends of people who made the news.

What more can I say about Harriet Albao?

She is a blessing to those around her

And we all wish her


With love and aloha.

( May 20, 1995:  Read by the author

at the Birthday Celebration

Dragon Inn Restaurant -- Kapaa, Kauai, Hawaii)


(April 1, 1976 – March 29, 1997)

To every thing there is a season,

and a time to every purpose under the heaven.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

The pain is real even for those who did not know him.

He saved the life of six-year-old Cody,

But he lost his in a whirlpool at Waipahee Slippery Slide --

A forbidden place that Shannon wanted to show

To his football coach and friends.

It was the day after Good Friday,

And Christendom was waiting for Resurrection Sunday,

But that Saturday of Holy Week was a sad day

For the Smiths of Kaua`i and for the UH football team

A sad day for the island of Kaua`i and for the University family.

And the pain for Coach Fred vonAppen,

Whose son Shannon saved, is real beyond words.

The events on that sorrowful Saturday

Will stay in his heart and mind the rest of his life.

Shannons love for skydiving reflected his free spirit.

And for one so young -- he missed his 21st birthday

By two days -- he knew what he wanted:

To have his ashes scattered on Sleeping Giant and on Oahu.

May Shannons attitude towards death

Be a lesson to those who are afraid of death.

May his death be a lesson to those who will not speak of death,

Especially to those who are in the twilight of life.






On Thursday, March 7, 1912, in the fair town of Laoag,

On the northwest tip of the Pearl of the Orient 

Francisca Pascual was born.

“Thursdays child has far to go,”

the nursery rhyme plainly states. 

Who would believe that those six words

Would be so prophetic?

At 34, Francisca Pascual Santos, 

A wife and the mother of four,

Ranging from13-years-old to a year-and-six months, 

Sails across the seas to faraway Hawaii 

To join husband Ruperto on Kauai.

The year is 1946 and it is not the best of times.

The family has its share of hardships mixed

With the joys in the exotic land that is now home.

But faith, patience, and hope pave the path

And Francisca and Ruperto

Bring up three lovely daughters

And two fine-looking sons --

A second being born on the Garden Island.

Blessed with a long, full, and meaningful life,

Francisca Pascual Santos at 91 

Continues to walk with the Lord

With grace, generosity, and gratitude,

With love, faith, hope, joy, and peace,

Affirming what her names stand for:

Forthright and open, a living saint.

 March 7, 2003 


From Latin and Greek her name did come:

doron > gift; theos > God: a gift of God.

Indeed, Dorothy is a Gift of God

to family, relatives, friends, and neighbors;

to students, mentees, colleagues galore;

to the schools she served with dedication;

to San Jose where she taught and lived;

to Santa Cruz where she now makes her home;

to places she loves and visits.

Patient, nurturing, and a gifted teacher,

her young scholars adored Mrs. Howe.

Gifted with a wonderful sense of humor

and skilled in the lost art of listening

a visit with her is an uplifting experience.

Happiness is Dorothys hallmark,

and it takes little to make her happy.

Apricot bonbon in the evening will do

or some martini -- never mind the olives!

And to summon sleep, 

she calls on some Scotch -- on the rocks, that is!

Young at heart, she enjoys riding 

in her 1970 yellow convertible Volkswagen Bug.

Swimming and water aerobics 

give her daily pleasure and exercise.

The only creatures that caused Dorothy some unhappiness

were furry intruders that took residence in her garden.

She tried every trick known to stop those gophers

from bothering her and Cousin Bob and burrowing in their yard.

Aunt George, as this Gift of God is known to many,

is deeply devoted to friends and family

who rejoice with her in celebration

and wish her HAPPY 90th BIRTHDAY!

with fervent hope and prayers 

that she lives to a century in joy and good health.

(Written with Love and Aloha by Catherine Lo of Koloa, HI,

With much help from Ellie Ibia of  San Jose, CA, and presented

to Dorothy as a gift. -- March 6, 2005)


(Samuel "Sammie Winber:

October 3, 1921 – July 20, 2005)

Family and friends say ALOHA 

to a husband … father … grandfather … 

to a brother … uncle … neighbor … friend …

Family and friends will miss him dearly.

His earthy task is done,

And the gates of heaven 

Open to let Samuel Winber in

But his family and friends will miss him dearly.

In the words of the Preacher in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:

“To every thing there is a season,

And a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die;

A time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 

… A time to weep, and a time to laugh; 

A time to mourn, and a time to dance.

… A time to love, and a time to hate;

A time of war, and a time of peace.”

For Samuel Sammie Winber

It is time to rest;

It is time to be free from pain and suffering,

But his family and friends will miss him dearly.

So his family and friends celebrate his life,

Remember him with love and thanksgiving,

And let his death give to them

A deeper faith in God

And a greater appreciation for life.

( July 27, 2005:  Read by a friend

at Uncle Sammie's funeral luncheon.)



(Thomas Kwan Chai Chingon:

November 9, 1922 – August 15, 2004)

A husband … father … grandfather … great-grandfather …

A brother … uncle … neighbor … friend …

Many will miss him dearly.

By the biblical standard of three scores and ten

Or, 70 years

God gave Uncle Thomas Chingon

A dozen extra years,

And his loved ones praise the Giver of Life.

His family and friends will miss him dearly,

But God granted him 82 years of life

Filled with experiences beyond expectations

And riches and rewards that flowed like converging rivers.

In the words of the Preacher in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:

“To every thing there is a season,

And a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die;

A time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 

… A time to weep, and a time to laugh; 

A time to mourn, and a time to dance.

… A time to love, and a time to hate;

A time of war, and a time of peace.”

For Thomas Chingon,

It is time to rest;

It is time to be free from pain and suffering.

The best tribute that his loved ones can make

Is to allow his death to give them

A deeper faith in God

And a greater appreciation for life.

So we send Thomas Kwan Chai Chingon with our love:

May the good Lord receive him in His everlasting arms.

( August 18, 2004)


(Daniel Kong Lung Lo:  January 2, 1917  -  February 22, 2003)

His minister father named him Daniel

Surely after the prophet who survived

The night in a den of lions.

He married Violet Kwock, a lady of beauty

And grace – No shrinking violet was she.

They named their first son Lionel.

Their second son they named Luther,

Maybe after the German Reformation leader,

Or perhaps the first choice for a masculine name

That begins with the letter L.

What’s in a name?

Daniel lived a life that affirmed

“God is my judge.”

Those who knew him understood his free spirit;

Those he knew received his kindness and generosity.

He blessed family, relatives, and friends with his strengths

And we will miss him dearly.

But the God of his father’s faith

Granted him 86 years of life

Filled with experiences beyond expectations

And riches and rewards that flowed like converging rivers.

So we say ALOHA to a father, grandfather, brother, uncle, friend,

And remember him with love.

Remember him with love, indeed:

He and his family attended a nephew’s wedding on Kaua’i,

And when the nephew and his bride visited Honolulu

He took them to his favorite kitchen in Chinatown

To enjoy the best cake noodles in the city.

( 2/26/2003)


Spiral, Horizontal Line Spinning

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