Tuesday, April 21, 2015

April 21: Hawaii, Garrett Hongo, "Eruption: Pu'u O'o"

I found my mind drifting during the meeting I just attended at the university.  I started thinking about Hawaii.  My wife and I honeymooned there, and, when I'm stressed or depressed or both, I think of Oahu and Waikiki Beach.  I think of snorkling in a bay of coral.  White sand.  Lava thundering into the ocean.

It's one of my happy places.  I go there when I need a break from reality, because that time I spent on the Hawaiian islands seems like a dream.

That's why I chose the Garrett Hongo poem below.

Saint Marty is going back to the beach.  Aloha.

Eruption:  Pu'u O'o

by:  Garrett Hongo

We woke near midnight,
flicking on the coat closet's bulb,
the rainforest chilled with mist,
a yellow swirl of gas
in the spill of light outside.
Stars paling, tucked high
in the sky's blue jade,
we saw, through the back windows
and tops of ohia trees,
silhouettes and red showers
as if from Blake's fires,
magenta and billows of black volleying.
Then, a burbling underground,
like rice steaming in the pot,
shook through chandeliers of fern
and the A-frame's tambourine floor,
stirring the cats and chickens
from the crawl-space and their furled sleep.
The fountain rose to 900 feet that night,
without us near it, smoking white,
spitting from the cone 6 miles away,
a geyser of flame, pyramids and gyres of ash.
Novices, we dressed and drove out,
first to the crater rim, Uwekahuna
a canyon and sea of ash and moonstone,
the hardened, grey back of Leviathon
steaming and venting, dormant under cloud-cover.
And then next down Volcano Road past the villages
to Hirano Store on Kilauea's long plateau.
There, over canefield and the hardened lava land,
all we saw was in each other's eyes--
the mind's fear and the heart's delight,
running us this way and that.

Been there, seen this...

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