Kohana Au (2012 Poem In Your Pocket)

Plum Blossoms

by Wing Tek Lum

Cold mountain winds scour the valley.
A hush descends upon the hard earth,

betraying no tears.
The gaunt plum hugs the river.

Its branches, shorn of leaves,
reach out like stark cries

in the Winter night, a spider’s agony.
Yet nubs of blossoms

nudge through the crinkled bark
on one twig, then another.

Buds nestle in crooks and crevices,
white as frost, grudging smiles,

a compassion nourished from within,
seeking air, seeking light.

From THE NANJING MASSACRE: POEMS by Wing Tek Lum with permission from Bamboo Ridge Press.

Wing Tek Lum is a Honolulu businessman and poet. His first collection of poetry, EXPOUNDING THE DOUBTFUL POINTS, was published by Bamboo Ridge Press in 1987. He is the 2014 recipient of an Elliot Cades Award for Literature. You can find out more about his work at www.bambooridge.com.


Drama Dance (Hula-ʻō-lapa)

by Kohana Au

Let us dance the lore of the sea currents and cloud-forms.
How they meet, move and separate.

Let us dance how the stars and waves appear,
and the course of the wind as it froths the waters.

Let us dance to the motions of the leaves and blossoms
swaying in a particular wind.

Let us move like dancing trees, swimming fish and shifting clouds.

Let us dance as filtered light, in the sea,

in the forests and the shadows that it casts.

Let us dance was we were told by Aliʻiwahineokamalo (The shadow on the moon.)

Let us dance the way of Kū and Hina.

Let us dance the way to tell the stories we were taught by Laʻamaikahiki, Maluaka, Kilinoe and Paliula.

Let us dance on the land and in the sea for all life and love.

Blow the conch…Play the kaeke drum, blow the flute, begin the kilu.

Come perform the Hula…let us dance.

Kohana Au has long been a writer associated with a number of projects throughout the Hawaiian Islands. A student and lover of all that is Polynesia–from New Zealand to Hawaiʻi–he shares his knowledge and understanding of these wonderful cultures. The poem is an excerpt from his book Tales of the Mermaids of Waiahuakua.

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