A Living Haiku?

So what do you think? If I bought two more hibiscus plants and left them on both sides of this, will I eventually have a live haiku with 5 -7 -5 blossoms?

hibiscus 1


I wrote this poem for a former 6th grader who, after becoming a journalist,  sent me a Mother’s Day Card.


Room for Strayers


Childhood Years

(Where dream-makers dwell)


An English Professor I would wed

Bear six children all well – bred.

A dining room table at the end of each day

Holding the Great American Family at bay.


Biologically Correct Years

(Where dreams are pursued)


The English Professor was a bore,

No perfect off springs out of my womb.

The pursuit was fun, the result none.

Except for the family of one.


Beyond Childbearing Years

(Where all’s well that ends well)


I thank the professor for being a bore.

I now have spaces just galore

For special students from my class

Who somehow sensed a lifetime pass.


Into my life you strayed that day

With a decision to stay and stay.

Overflowing my space with joy untold

Bringing me treasures beyond karated gold.


I count my blessings every night

For English professors , being so trite.

Thank you, my dear, for claiming stake

On that space left in my wake.

frances h. kakugawa




I was thinking of a second grade class I visited as a  writing resource teacher. I worked with poetry in this particular class. On the last day,  a  little boy, who wore a baseball cap to hide  the after-effects of chemotherapy followed me to the door and said, “I floated on air, being with you.” How I wanted to stay and become God.

Yes, I Will

When he takes my hand in his,

His tiny little fingers curled around mine,

I am filled with a great sense of duty,

Duty to keep this world

Free from fear and evil.


When I feel his hand in mine,

The contrast: spring to autumn,

I feel compelled to live

Every minute of my life

With love and human kindness

So this world that belongs to him

Will be a place where his deepest secrets

Will be safe,

Where all his dreams and hopes

Become possibilities,

And this world becomes

The greatest, most trusted friend,

Anyone could ever have.


Oh, I will live so I can make

All the difference in his life,

For having trusted his hand in mine.

frances kakugawa: from Teacher, You Look Like a Horse


Good Morning!


I am but a morning glory

A fleeting face at Dawn.

In the midst of Chaos,

For one breathless moment,

I bring Joy! Joy!


I came across this  letter from Alexander to Napoleon in War  & Peace and felt so saddened over how communication on the same subject is being texted by our own leader today. Sad, sad.

Addressed to : Esteemed brother,

…If your Majesty is not seeking to shed the blood of our subjects over a misunderstanding of this kind, and will consent to withdraw his troops from Russian territory, I shall disregard what has occurred, and in an accommodation between us will be possible. In the contrary case, I shall be  compelled to repulse an invasion which has been entirely unprovoked on my side. It is still within your Majesty’s power to preserve humanity from the disasters of another war.

I am, etc.,

(Signed) Alexander


My home island of the Big Island needs your help. The lava is still flowing, businesses are suffering. Please support Big Island businesses by putting them on your shopping list. I don’t want to see our local flavor disappear as Kapoho did, with its uniqueness.

This list has been put together by a local magazine which shares ownership with my Hawaii publisher’s company. Most of the businesses on it have online stores, so you can support from the comfort of your chair, from anywhere.

Our house lot is now under lava and with it, a Christmas Memory in summer.


A Kapoho Christmas


It was Christmas without lights.

It was Christmas without indoor plumbing.

It was Christmas without carolers at the window

Muffed and warm under falling snow.


But there was Christmas.


A Christmas program at school

Where the Holy Night reenacted:

White tissue paper glued on spines of coconut  fronds

Shaped as angel wings and halos.

Long white robes, over bare feet.


Santa Claus with bagfuls of hard mixed candies

Ho ho hoed by the plantation manager,

His yearly holiday role in the village where he reigned.

Fathers  in Sunday best

After a hard day’s work in sugar cane fields.

Children in home-sewn dresses and shirts.


A fir branch from the hills,

Needles not lasting 24 hours.

Chains from construction paper,

Origami balls, strands of tin-foiled tinsel.

Kerosene  and gas lamps

Moving shadows on the walls.


It was not the Christmas of my dreams.

No carolers at the window,

Singing O Holy Night.

No large presents under a Douglas Fir

No fireplaces and rooftop chimneys.

No blue-eyed  boy handing me hot chocolate.


For 18 years, the true Christmas

Lived in my head until Madame Pele

Came to my rescue

And buried our kerosene lamps.


“Finally,”  I said,


Running out fast —

My bare feet over pebbled, unpaved roads

To the Christmas of my dreams.



Frances Kakugawa