Poems Without Borders


Poems Without Borders
Aloha Odes
Poets Without Borders
New York
About the Poet
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Spouting Horn, Po'ipu
May 22, 3013 Karl Lo Photo


"Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters."
Isaiah 55:1 (NKJV)

I sit on a rock, Hurricane `Iniki
having destroyed the two pavilions.
I survey the scene, feeling increasingly depressed
by the desolation that surrounds me.

Borrowed With Permission

Energized by Saturday's sun
which is rising with promise, I walk
where the keep out signs allow me.
I stand on the foundation of the big pavilion
that once welcomed picnickers daily.
The sight of a crater nearby ignites new flames of awe
as I realize anew the destruction that wind and water
with their relentless determination brought to Kaua'i
on September 11, 1992,
destroying the grassy grounds where children once played.

Some yards away, someone is sitting at the water's edge
where the waves are gently washing the rocks.
The lone figure could be whale-watching,
but I see no signs of frocking mammals.

Seascape, Soar Mill Cove
Borrowed With Permission

And at the reef near the lagoon,
a well-tanned fisherman readies his net for a catch.
The sun is focused on the catch of the day
and I see fish flashing inside the net.
Surely he counts the fish as he puts them
in a mesh bag that he deposits in the water among the rocks
before he casts his net for another catch.

I amble away from the waters of Po'ipu Beach
and look for the plovers and the doves that populate the park.
Plovers, doves, feathered friends of any kind are not in sight.
They, too, must feel depressed over the destruction
of their favorite park that is now devoid of their friends
who share with them their picnic fares.

Author's note:  Published in "'Iniki After The Storm,"  the special section of The Garden Island on September 11, 2012, in observance of the 20th anniversary  of Hurricane 'Iniki.  (C6: Col.5-6:  With the heading:  "The sight of a crater nearby ignites new flames of awe."
* * *

View of Hanama`ulu from Kalepa Ridge
Karl Lo Photo | Aug. 4, 2004


Patient Kalepa watches over Hanama`ulu
like a mother holding her baby
close to her bosom.

And the calm blue sea fences the town
in a semi-circle
which faithful Kalepa views with alert eyes.

Hanama`ulu's nickname as "tired bay"
reflects the town's peaceful setting.
Consider that the town is a humble hamlet --
a quiet little town that travelers often miss
on their way to Hanalei from Lihu`e
with more scenic island sites
coming into view along the way.

From Kilohana Crater to Hanama`ulu Bay
the town reflects the seemingly "tired" name.
But discerning eyes see that the calm surf at the bay
makes Hanama`ulu to look like a "tired bay."

From the ancestors of the Kiilaus and the Coremas,
the Setos, the Saritas, the Changs,
and all the early settlers
who made this plantation town home
to the three thousand who today call
this square mile corridor on the Garden Island --
this one and only Hanama`ulu Town -- HOME
"tired" is not apropos.

(July 11, 2004)


Hanama`ulu celebrates:
Kawelo's birthplace celebrates in dance:
The hula, tinikling, bon, and Tahitian,
Maori, Borinque, ballroom, square dance.

Hanama`ulu celebrates:
Kawelo's birthplace celebrates in song:
With ukulele, ipu, and guitar.

Hanama`ulu celebrates:
Kawelo's birthplace celebrates poi and pinacbet,
Chicken hekka, bean soup, and tamale,
Hamburger, hot dog, and pastele,
Spring roll, chow fun, and kim chee,
And in celebration the town becomes one.

Hanama`ulu celebrates:
Kawelo's birthplace remembers the past:
Kawelo's birthplace celebrates the present:
And in celebration the town becomes one
And Hanama`ulu embraces the future with aloha.

( July 11, 2004)

Note: In prehistoric Hawai`i, Kawelo was a hero who was born in Hanama`ulu. Visit the PREHISTORY page of the Hanama`ulu Town Celebration Website and read the legend on this son of Hanama`ulu.


Dear Diane:

The Clerodendrum, gorgeous like a prized Christmas tree,
graces our front yard.  Deep purple prevails on the underside 
of its deep green leaves -- a striking feature of this glorious tree.

Every stem, every stalk bursts into pink/white/burgundy bouquets
in January and February.  And visitors who walk by stop to take
postcard-perfect pictures of the tree with its inviting clustered blossoms.

Our Clerodendrum is a very special tree.  Alas, its unwanted runners
make yard work a demanding task!  And its abundant foliage fall
and litter the yard.  But how can we say goodbye to our glorious tree?


If I were a miracle worker, 
I would bring back plantation days. 
I would resurrect Kaua`i's communities 
surrounded by green fields of sugarcane tasseling in the sun, 
girded by green fields of pineapple with their ripening fruits. 

If I were a miracle worker, 
I would bring back plantation days. 
I would regenerate the streets of plantation homes 
painted in plantation green 
with their spacious and welcoming porches. 

If I were a miracle worker, 
I would bring back plantation days. 
I would reclaim Kaua`i's green pastures 
and keep the open lands 
open and forever green. 

If I were a miracle worker, 
I would bring back plantation days. 
I would revive the close-knit communities 
where neighbors live as one `ohana, 
where sharing is a way of life, 
where the green homes are simple and modest 
but homelessness is an alien situation. 

Koloa Town Shower Tree: Planted in December 1985
Photo: Karl Lo | August 2, 2007


Governor Ariyoshi, the people of Hawaii
Applaud the First Lady's One Million Trees Project!
Garden Islanders eagerly look forward
To the completion of the project in December
With the planting of a shower tree
Near the Koloa Plantation Sesquicentennial Monument.*

We visited Beijing, Tianjin, Xian,
Nanjing, Shanghai, Suzhou, Guilin, and
Now, this Monday, the 3rd of June,
We are in Guangzhou, which you visited
On the 23rd of May. The busy cities of China
Are painted in our memory in differing picturesque quality
But with a common motif: TREES! 
We saw the miles of trees that line China's highways and byways.

The stately poplar trees on Beijing's Airport Road
Greeted us upon our arrival on Saturday, the 18th of May,
Standing at attention like people along a parade route.
The snow pines that grace Nanjing's Imperial Road
Would be a lovely promenade of lights at Christmas,
Lighting the way to sycamore-lined Sun Yat-sen Road!
The columns of cypress trees standing like sentinels
Along the train route to Shanghai line the tracks of our memory.

The tall eucalyptus trees, also called swamp mahogany,
On peaceful and scenic Maluhia Road
Welcome visitors to the South Shore of Kaua`i,
Their arms clasped in warm aloha,
Their heads bowed in graceful obedience to Mother Nature.
This one mile Tree Tunnel may be short 
Compared to the long stretches of trees throughout China
But these are special trees spanning the decades since 1911,
And their grace makes them Kaua`i's natural cathedral.  

*Note: The monument was unveiled in July 1986, not having been completed in time for the first Koloa Plantation Days celebration in July 1985.

Tree Tunnel on Maluhia Road: Koloa, Kauai, HI
Dennis Lo Photo | 100710


Wai`ale`ale, beloved mountain of Kaua`i,
You are the heart of the Garden Island!
The myriad waterfalls accenting your emerald cliffs
Make you the greenest
Of the Garden Island's green gardens!

On days when clouds do not create a screen
Between you and Kaua`i's bright skies,
Your magnificence is visible from near and far,
And your inviting hills, valleys, and cliffs
Glisten in their greenness.

You are a masterpiece of Mother Nature, Wai`ale`ale!
And Mother Nature continues to add strokes of beauty
As your abundant rippling and overflowing waters
Create cascading beauties like `Opaeka`a Falls!
And the twin rapids of Wailua Falls!

Hardy hikers trek up to your summit, Wai`ale`ale!
Your lovers sleep on your bosom
And hear your heart beating with rhythmic peace.
You give them unforgettable thrills
As they view the Garden Island
From your verdant slopes and hills!

I join the folks on Kaumuali`i Highway or on Kuhio,
Who look up to you in awe and gratitude, Wai`ale`ale!
You are the Green Giant of the Garden Island!


Royal, elegant, and peaceful purple is Kaua`i's color.
In addition to purple, which color of the rainbow
is coupled with the Garden Island?
A: Green, of course.

Speaking of the rainbow, have you seen
a rainbow lately? What is the central color
of this beauteous band across the sky?
A: Green, indeed. Between yellow and blue.

Koloa's Green Pond is where Ladd & Co.
built its first mill in 1835. The company
thrived into a success story as Koloa Plantation.
What is the Hawaiian name of Green Pond?
A:Take a guess! If you say MA`ULILI, you have it right!

Hanapepe is a restaurant town.
Which of the town's restaurants
opened in 1948 and closed in 2004?
A: Right on! Green Garden it was!

Locals may know a little Hawaiian and
a sputtering of pidgin. However, they depend
on English to convey their thoughts.
Which Kaua`i town would be called "Green"
if the English language prevails?
A: `Oma`o. And now you know.

Do you know where Kaua`i aunties grow anthuriums and orchids?
A: Yes. In greenhouses.

Immigrants on Kaua`i and in other parts of the country
who want to earn a living must have
a special card to enter the workforce. Which card is it?
A: You are right! Green card.

Red and white. Green and white. Blue and white.
Which of Kaua`i's three public schools carries the color green?
A: East Kaua`i's Kapaa High School.

If the English language prevails,
what would Kaua`ians call `Oma`o Road?
A: Green Road. Let us keep it `Oma`o Road!


"Give thanks always for all things
 unto God the Father
 in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
-- Ephesians 5:20

Hoona Beach | Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii
Photo: Karl Lo | 2.12.05

Thankful to see the dawn of a new day,
Thankful to see the light of morning,
Thankful to see the azure sea,
Thankful to see the cloudless sky,
Thankful to see the majestic mountains,

Thankful to see the trees and the flowers,
Thankful to hear the joyful noise
of children at play,
Thankful to hear the singing
that grateful voices share,
Thankful to hear happy news
from family and friends,
Thankful to hear the determined rain
after a dry spell,

Thankful to smell the perfume of plumeria and gardenia,
Thankful to smell the fresh morning air,
Thankful to smell the aroma of turkey roasting in the oven,
Thankful to enjoy the taste of rambutan and papaya,
Thankful to enjoy the taste of sashimi and pumpkin pie,

Hoona Beach | Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii
Photo: Karl Lo | 2.12.05

Thankful to feel loved and appreciated,
Thankful to feel the warmth
of hearty handshakes and hugs,
Thankful to feel the joy from encircling love,

Thankful to know there is a divine Power,
Thankful to know the presence
and the providence of God,

Thankful for the abundance that is mine,
Thankful for the blessings
of a gracious and merciful God,
Thankful to celebrate another Thanksgiving Day.


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)


Waikomo (Entering Water) Stream, Poipu, Kauai
Photo : Karl Lo | Oct. 2003

Waikomo Stream flows swiftly
With purpose and determination
As it rushes under Hoonani Bridge
To meet the Pacific at Koloa Landing.

The boulders near the bridge challenge the stream
And divert its direction as it rushes
To meet the Pacific at Koloa Landing.
The rushing stream foams where it hits the rocks.

Waikomo Stream boldly defies the boulders,
And rising to the challenge
Creates beauty and preaching points
For poetic fools like you and me.


Inspired by Robert Frost's
"Tree At My window"

Sea at my window, window to the horizon:
You beckon me with your tranquility,
And I come when low tide allows me,
Always mindful of your sudden fury.

Sea at my window, window to the morning rainbow:
Your calmness gives me serenity,
And I accept your gifts graciously,
And gather shells for my balcony.

Sea at my window, window to the southern hills:
I watch the surfers riding on your heaving belly,
And wish that I could be
Snorkeling, swimming, and picking opihi.

Sea at my window, window to the sunset:
On moonlight nights I come to see
How you rush to the reef with songs of glee,
Engraving your name on the rocks with absolute authority.

Sea at my window, window to the sky:
Your power and excitable disposition paralyze me;
Our distant relationship is no discourtesy:
I crave for comfort and seek safety.

opihi: limpet

Sea At My Window
Photo: Karl Lo | March 2007


Hoona Beach | Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii
Photo : Karl Lo | Feb. 2005

I savor whole notes:
They are in keeping with my body tempo.

I inhale fresh air on whole notes;
I walk to the beach on whole notes;
I garden on whole notes.

Alas, the sun sets on 16th notes!
Watching the luminous ball
sink below the horizon
I wish for a whole note experience
with the setting sun!



I don't begrudge the spider for the speed
You blessed it with,
But in your mercy grant me
A fraction of the spider's speed.
Consider the poem I'm trying to polish
Eager to see it in print.
For two weeks now I've tweaked the lines --
A new word here, a change of imagery there --
But creativity eludes me.
I worked in the backyard yesterday afternoon
And consciously cleared the spider web
Between the avocado tree and the ti plant,
And early this morning
The spider had replaced the web,
The spider's speed is a desirable talent,
And how I wish that I could write
As fast as the spider spins and weaves!
A fraction of the spider's speed is all I ask;
But a portion of industry would help as well.

(May 2003)


A natural garden ... a natural museum ... 
a historical and cultural center.  
With the encircling splendor of Mt. Ha`upu, 
the windswept loveliness of the ironwoods, 
the glittering sand, and the sparkling sea, 
Maha`ulepu is a cloistered charm ... 
a shrine of beauty ... a place of peace. 

'Tis the day after the Summer Solstice, 
and the Poipu sun is as joyful as it was 
yesterday.   We find ourselves at the cove 
where friends five years ago 
vowed to love and to cherish each other. 

We claim a shady spot 
under a cluster of ironwoods 
whose faithfulness match the perseverance 
of Kawailoa Bay .  We watch the hour unfold 
in the comfort of our beach chairs 
as we celebrate with a picnic.

Maha`ulepu | Oct. 2003
Photo : Karl Lo

Several fishermen with nets and poles 
concentrate on catching some fish for supper.  
In front of us a couple casts a fishing pole.  
The young woman is big with child but 
the wind withholds kindness.  
The bait goes east while the sinker goes west. 

In the distance someone is trying to fly a giant kite, 
but the wind refuses to assist him.  
And a fisherman to our right is casting 
against the wind, and his fish line gets 
stuck on the beach shelf.

A bevy of young boys 
with swimming fins and spears 
climb the cliff on the eastern end of the bay 
to fulfill their Sunday afternoon, 
while from the west a troop of tourists 
is coming from around the bend, 
marching unto the long stretch of sparkling sand, 
their footwear swinging at their sides.  

Maha`ulepu waits 
to provide pleasure and learning.  
As we prepare to leave, 
someone parks behind our blue truck, 
and we depart dripping with awe 
for Kaua`i's sacred garden by the sea. 
(June 2003)

Published in "Malama Maha`ulepu" -- Summer 2003

Behind Mt. Ha`upu is Lihue : under lonely clouds
Photo : Karl Lo | Oct. 2003


The moon sings like Teresa Bright:
effortlessly, soothingly,
with quiet intensity,
and embracing.

And you wrap me with love
in the light of the singing moon,
your tender touch coloring my heart red,
my soul throbs with intense delight
that you and I are one.


As Hurricane `Iniki continues to shred
ti leaves into limp slivers
and topple trees into horrid heaps
Bougainvillea Hill comes to mind --
that heavenly hillside that comes into view
as a traveler approaches Kaua`i's 
"Biggest Little Town"
either from the East
or from the West.

The striking crimsons
and proud purples come to mind ...
the welcoming whites ...
the dainty pinks ...
the perfect orange ...

`Iniki blasts into the Kaua`i night ...

I ponder what a sad day 9/11 has been ...
Thoughts of Hanapepe's colorful Bougainvillea Hill
brings beauty and bursts of blooms
to my hopeful heart 
and I pray that `Iniki spares
the hill from relentless harm.


For Diane and Fred

How do we say goodbye
To a thing of beauty?
The glorious tree graces the right corner of the front yard.
Purple prevails under the deep green leaves --
the first fascinating feature of
capricious Clerodendron.
Year after year these six busy years,
it bursts with pink and burgundy blossoms
in early January  -- unwilling to wait for spring
as Mother Nature scheduled its blooming.
The neighbors' fireworks on New Year's Eve seem to ignite
its explosive beauty -- a glowing way
to welcome the New Year with warm appreciation.
Eyes feast on the blazing blossoms,
their beauty moving hearts to uncommon admiration,
and neighbors and visitors to the Garden Island
who are connoisseurs  of beauty
press to preserve in photographs
the postcard-perfect scene that the engaging plant creates.
Grown from a plantlet, the gift of fabulous friends,
the Clerodendron replaces the Poinciana
at the corner of the old house built in 1937
that Hurricane `Iniki destroyed in September 1992.
Even without its annual burst of beauty,
it is a lovely specimen of a garden plant.
Alas, its runners go where they are not wanted,
and Kona wind often breaks blossom-laden branches,
and leaves cover the ground instead of the stems,
and maintenance is a demanding task
that busy people find burdensome.
The question begs to be asked:
How do we say goodbye
To a thing of beauty?


Straight lines frame the house with none
of those inviting recesses and pleasing designs.
The Be Still hedge hides the blue, calm waters
of Po`ipu, and with the exception of Kukuiolono,
Kalaheo's rolling hills are hidden from view.

But a quiet neighborhood harbors the house
and the manicured lawns on both sides of the streets
create visual widening of the county roads.
Liberated felines deposit
Unique fertilizer around the house,
but no unleashed dogs here to litter
the streets on the eve of trash pickup day.

And the backyard boasts of a mango tree
that will soon qualify for social security;
Traumatized by Hurricane `Iniki in 1992,
it was frugal with its fruits for several seasons
but its generous genes are back to generating
bountiful bunches of beautiful mangoes.

One productive sour sop and two fruitful fig trees
that mynahs and mejiros claim as home
at harvest time
complete the backyard landscaping.
The front yard is limiting but showcases
one petite but productive pomelo tree.

What more can one ask?
We keep it.

(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 and
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.

Shannon's 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 Shannon's 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.


Time and thought set these 41 steps in place
Down this hallowed Lawa'i hill.
Planning placed each step with care and purpose.
Time has taken away the temple
At the base of the hill and,
Alas, only 25 of the 88 lanterns
That once lit up the landscape
Have endured the winds of time.

Positioned on nature's platforms,
Up and down the hilly path,
From one end of the bluff to the other,
The lanterns are solid at the sides
And at the back to ward off wind
And rain, and windowed in the front
Providing easy access for incense burning
And space for floral and other offerings. 
The concrete lanterns stand as sentinels
And the Shingon-shu Buddhist Shrine
Remains a testament to a faithful past.

We come like empty cups
Waiting to be filled.
We depart overflowing with respect for the people
Whose collective spirit governs this hillside.

Faith, vision, and wisdom created
And consecrated this sacred place.
We leave filled with awe and admiration
For people we never met, whose God
Seems different from the God we worship.
History links us to them.
The connectivity of humankind, indeed.

Another version was used by Carol Kouchi Yotsuda for the "Shrines: The Sacred Dimension of Art and Ritual" exhibit in Maui. Rose Monsen and George Wright's review says: "Carol Kouchi Yotsuda's fiber/paper sculpture, 'Empty Shrines, Wandering Souls,' is simply lovely, an echo of Spirit, accompanied by a suitably sustaining poem by Catherine Pascual Lo." (THE MAUI NEWS -- May 25, 1997)


God speaks through the morning call
of the Mountain Dove . . .
through the gentle trade winds
that cool off the Garden Island . . .
through the surging surf at Brennecke Beach . . .

God appears in the rays of the rising sun . . .
in the resplendent colors
of morning and afternoon rainbows . . .
in the light of the evening star
and in the moonlit sky . . .

God performs miracles at childbirth . . .
in the growing of macadamia trees . . .
in the ripening of mangoes . . .
in the blooming of hibiscus . . .
in the beauty of birds of paradise . . .

God choreographs the flight of shearwaters
after dusk and before dawn . . .
the synchronized swimming of turtles
frolicking at Prince Kuhio Beach . . .
the celebratory performances
of humpback whales
in sparkling South Shore waters . . .

God fills Hoona Beach with sea lettuce
and butterfly fish . . .
the Garden Island with morning-glory
and wood roses . . .
the Hawaiian soul with thanksgiving . . .
the Hawaiian heart with love and grace . . .


Photo: Karl Lo | Sept. 17, 2004
Plumeria bouquet beaming into our yard from neighbors' tree.

The white Periwinkles that parallel the moss rock wall
in the front yard
look wild.
The jade plants on the south side of the house
that I force into
to imitate bonsai trees
are begging to return to their natural
unrestrained behavior.
The sweetsop tree in the backyard
needs cutting
asking for some relief
from its bushy top.
And I answer the call of the garden
with gladness!

Joy comes after I crop the sweetsop tree
and I see its trunk and branches
breathing fresh air and warming in the sun.
Joy comes when I see the jade plants
behaving like bonsai trees again.
Joy comes when the Periwinkles offer white bouquets
that are arranged with care.
Joy comes with gardening!

The neighbors' plumeria trees
that reach out into our side of the
present a distinclty different topic.
The trees ingratiate themselves
with their white blossoms
that cluster into beautiful bouquets
but the sight of their dried leaves and
fallen leaves
littering our jade garden and lawn
incites the grumpy gardener
that is roaring to jump
outof my skin!
(Sept. 17, 2004)


The sparrows are sitting on the lichee tree,
Singing in their familiar way;
The wind is gently teasing my hair
With his long and nimble fingers.
The Giant is sleeping at my left;
And Wai`ale`ale is waking up
To the sound of the rain.
Directly below is the German Forest.
The road cruises a mile down the forest
Where the ironwood trees instinctively create
A green canopy that stretches
From Iliahi to the cane fields below.
The morning is just beginning:
Lihu`e lies still amidst the tasseling sugar canes.
Behind me sits Kilohana -- now just a crater --
Whose fury the centuries have silenced.
If a sparrow would lend me her wings,
If the wind would carry me in his pocket,
I would bring you here, my friend,
Where the views inspire lofty thoughts.

The author wrote MORNING THOUGHTS AT ILIAHI  when she was home from college one summer.

"Iliahi" is "sandalwood" in the Hawaiian language, and the estate where Caleb and Florence Burns lived from 1934 to 1967 was named "Iliahi" after the tree that was at the site when the land was cleared in October 1933 in preparation for the construction of the home of the future manager of Lihu`e Plantation. One source says that the tree was used in the house in some unspecified way, thus the name as a reminder that sandalwood grew on the slopes below Kilohana Crater.  Mr. Burns was manager of Lihu`e Plantation from August 1933 to April 1951. The author's Dad, employed by Lihu`e Plantation as an electrician in 1946, joined the manager's staff in 1947, and the family of six settled in three cottages at Iliahi upon arrival from the Philippines in February 1954.   Mom and Dad lived at Iliahi until 1967 when the Burnses moved to Honolulu. 

The original version of MORNING THOUGHTS AT ILIAHI  was published in the POET'S CORNER in "The Garden Island" on December 25, 1972.


Iliahi, I’ve longed to see you, and I’m back!

And I’ll return again … and again …

As long as your arms are open

To welcome me in warm embrace.

Many do not know you, Iliahi!

But I have loved you decade after decade.

I knew you when you were younger and charming,

And always carried yourself with charm and grace.

Oh, you are still elegant and attractive, Iliahi,

Especially when the sun finds you

Sitting on your magnificent hill,

In your striking and appealing pose.

I have loved you from near and far, Iliahi!

But you belong to someone else,

And I cannot have you for my own

But you continue to inspire me with your life and beauty.

Copyright  March 14, 2008

Spiral, Horizontal Line Spinning


Let love be frugal
Like red anthurium --
Sparing in design
Natural and perennially blooming.

Published in "Bamboo Ridge"
(The Hawaii Writers' Quarterly)
No. 21, Ball 1983


The Gold Trees on Poipu Road
Are in a riot of yellow again!
This year they are early
Breaking out before the Ides of March!

A mob of energetic mynahs
Cheer the vivacious Gold Trees
As they parade along Waikomo Stream
Stark-naked --
Mother Nature having disrobed them
Of their green garb.

Branches and stems bare,
The yellow flowers stand proud
In the morning light.

Published in HAWAII HAIKU
(The Honolulu Advertiser)
Nov. 21, 1977

Maxine Pascual's red anthurium
Photo : Karl Lo | Sept. 20, 2004


For Lyn and Sally

The porch outside the kitchen
Is ablaze in beauty!
The yellow dendrobium --
Its petals boldly brushed
With prominent purple --
Is in spring splendor!
And the blossom-laden sprays
Spread their loveliness and grace,
Spraying their sunny disposition
On the reluctant cook in the kitchen
Trying to prepare some lunch.
( 2000)

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Spiral, Horizontal Line Spinning

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