Wednesday, November 30, 2016

MELE KALIKIMAKA FROM HONOLULU, HAWAII

Shaka Santa and Mrs. Claus with poinsettias
in front of Honolulu Hale
Each year, I visit the downtown area to check out the Honolulu Christmas decorations. At Honolulu Hale, Santa and Mrs. Claus reign over the festivities: the tall Christmas tree, the Mele Kalikimaka toy display, and the Christmas wreath contest of unique wreaths decorating the walls. Hearing the squeals and chatter of school children as they enjoy the sights always brings a smile to my face.

The days leading up to Christmas Day are a time for just that, squeals and chatter, the joys of childhood, and remembering the pleasures of past holidays. In our family, celebrations were prefaced with attendance at mass, first St. Luke's Church, and later Holy Redeemer Church. Giving thanks reminded us not to take our many blessings for granted.
 
Today I am focused on simple blessings so often taken for granted throughout the busy year: colorful birds and flowers during my walks; the sweetly-tart juiciness of a chilled tangerine; and an unexpected exchange of friendly greetings. Burdens lessen as I concentrate on a few of my "favorite things."  

May your days be filled with merriment and peace!
 

*****     *****     *****
 

The following is an article I first posted in 2009. Much of the information remains relevant, although I haven't seen The Candy Cane Train in years and Santa on the roof of Ala Moana Center doesn't have a lei this year!

MELE KALIKIMAKA is one of my favorite Christmas songs. Remember Bing Crosby's 1950 rendition, accompanied by the Andrew Sisters? "That's the island greeting that we send to you  . . ."

The holiday season on the island of O'ahu opens with the Honolulu City Lights celebration. The Electric Light Parade travels through downtown to Honolulu Hale (City Hall) for the annual tree-lighting ceremony. This year's tree is a striking 55-foot Norfolk pine. Another tradition is "Nutcracker" performed on-stage at Blaisdell Concert Hall. 

At the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl, rows of evergreen wreaths on grave sites honor fallen veterans this holiday season. The wreaths adorn 1,288 of the graves, part of the Wreaths Across America campaign.

Aunties like myself, keiki, and tutus all enjoy the entertainment of Hawaii's local groups this time of year - Na Leo Pilimehana, Makaha Sons, Kapena, and the Brothers Cazimero, to name a few; special hula dance groups (halaus) including Hoku Zuttermeister; and celebrities Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom, Keali'i Reichel, and Willie K (the title of his Christmas song "Aloha Kalikimaka" reveals what the K stands for.) Music by the late Israel (Iz) Kamakawiwo'ole is always heard around the islands. 

Candy Cane Train
At Ala Moana Center, our open-air shopping mall, children ride the Candy Cane Train and watch musical productions on Center Stage, the illusion of snow delighting the young at heart. Hula performers draped in colorful regalia entertain with beautifully choreographed, swaying movements.


Santa gets lei-d for the holidays
But it isn't officially the "season to be jolly" until the Santa Claus statue is assembled up on the center's rootftop for all to see!

In Honolulu, jolly ol' St. Nicholas arrives in an outrigger canoe, landing on the shores of Waikiki! http://bit.ly/IPRKP1 
And we do have real snow here. Recently, my cousin reminded me of the snow-covered mountain of Mauna Kea on the Big Island. Low temperatures on Maui's Haleakala also attract the white fluffy stuff that folks in the northern states take for granted this time of year.


Hawaiian Menehune




Kalikimaka is Hawaiian for Christmas.
Mele means song or chant; also, merry.
This is truly the locals' traditional way,
Of sending holiday greetings,
To say Merry Christmas. To you.


Aloha Nui Loa,
That's Hawaii's way to say
"a canoe-full of love."
 
 
 
 
 
 

Although some traditions come and go, the spirit of the holidays always remains,
and around the Islands, people of all faiths share the spirit of

ALOHA!
 
*****     *****     *****


Sunday, November 27, 2016

LINKED POETRY: CHANGE 68, and BEYOND REACH 69

ANOTHER NEW BEGINNING
70 Poems for 70 Days 
 is a collection of poetry I wrote as a birthday present to myself and gifted in book format to 70 of my friends and family members. Over a period of 70 Sundays, I am submitting the poems in the order of composition, along with a short comment about the poem’s style or theme,
often including a complementary photograph.

With linked poetry, a form of Japanese Renshi poetry,
the last lines of one poem are used to form the title of the next poem,
then the next poem shifts to a different topic.
 

I hope you find a few entries that bring a smile to your face or a long buried memory to the surface of your consciousness. Poetry is like that, whether you are the reader or the author.

 
68
Change
 
At thirteen
her world contained
confusing shadows
Hiding answers
to which
no questions applied. 
Teen years
slipped into brilliance
she perceived as sunlight. 
Then fading shadows
opened vistas of
rainbow-stained hues 
Inevitable change,
Promises targeting growth,
Indelible answers
Beyond reach.
 
*****     *****     ***** 
 
Ah, the springboard of teen years -- when everything is in a state of flux. Too young to understand body changes or thoughts that appear to make little sense. Unable to form intelligible questions, and wondering who to ask even if one could. Like the tangled aerial roots of a banyan tree, there appears to be no rhyme or logical reason to each new experience until, like the roots, they take hold and become solid support for continued growth.
 
*****     *****     *****

69
Beyond Reach

 
She works the front door latch.
Locked. She thinks, again
left in the rain.
Alongside, a window raised
for circulation, offers hope
once beyond reach.
Defeat is not
an option, she reasons,
inside or out.
Shrieks of laughter
in the back. A gathering.
Faces turn to her.
"Ever so long,”
they say, “we’ve
been waiting. For you.”
 
*****     *****     ***** 
 
The difficult years:
The confusion of not belonging, thinking she does not fit in anywhere. Also convinced she is the only one suffering this dilemma.
 
When, new accepting friends offer possibilities, though different from what she knows, it allows her to feel she belongs.
 
Eager to be accepted, her rationalization is quick. 
 
Was she even right to harbor such thoughts?
 
Then, realization. She is not the only one who felt insecure and out of place. Everyone must search. Most will find their niche, sooner or later.
 
*****     *****     ***** 
 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

COLLABORATION Poem 66 and REBELLION Poem 67

ANOTHER NEW BEGINNING
70 Poems for 70 Days 
 is a collection of poetry I wrote as a birthday present to myself and gifted in book format to 70 of my friends and family members. Over a period of 70 Sundays, I am submitting the poems in the order of composition, along with a short comment about the poem’s style or theme,
often including a complementary photograph.

With linked poetry, a form of Japanese Renshi poetry,
the last lines of one poem are used to form the title of the next poem,
then the next poem shifts to a different topic.
 

I hope you find a few entries that bring a smile to your face or a long buried memory to the surface of your consciousness. Poetry is like that, whether you are the reader or the author.

66
Co-Existing
 

 
 
I see how coral thrives along the
jagged coastline.
How geckos live and play
among the plants.
Silverswords disguise the
peaceful Nene,
on the slopes of dormant
volcanic rock.
Night marchers travel through
the steaming mist
on lonely roads lit by
a silver moon. 
A surfer’s board on water
Orchids blooming in sweet air
Pineapple roots in soil. 
Collaboration
is what I see.
 
So much of life in its natural state knows to cooperate with its surroundings to survive in comfort. Humans, superior in their reasoning, are unable to fully grasp this concept, instead always striving for more of their allotted share. Would mimicking the practice of coexistence demonstrated by nature offer a more collaborative existence for men?
 
*****     *****     *****
 
67

What You See
Riots
Society on the edge
Politics, redefining lives 
Anger
Men engaged in war
Family structure, realigned 
Rebellion
Control in flux
Freedom, the goal 
Question not
what you see, but
the lack of change 

Change may not be an acceptable long-term solution. Then society might consider the simplicity of recognizing that whatever we have to share can be used as a catalyst toward equality. The result, an end to riots, anger, and rebellion, leads to satisfaction.
 
*****     *****     *****