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Archive for the ‘Pahoa eruption’ Category

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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While Goddess Pele is nearing Pahoa, the two mountains are covered with snow, even with blizzard warnings a few days ago. As legend has it, Pele’s sister Poli’ahu,   is the Goddess of Snow…there are many stories about these two rival sisters…And betwixt this all , comes Robert Frost…

mauna keapic3-1

 

Fire or Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
robert frost

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HI H Pahoa storyTo people of Kapoho and Pahoa, the Hawai’i Herald generously used my story on Madame Pele’s visit to both these towns as their cover story. My open letter to Pahoa, and an excerpt from my Kapoho book may be of interest to you. Thank you. Yes, that’s me on the porch in Pahoa village during my last visit in September.

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Kapoho’s history of being covered by lava flows is now Pahoa’s. And once again, our respect for fire goddess Pele is heard over and over again as seen in the excerpts below. I hope all the communities will be there for the residents of Pahoa just as they were for us, when we evacuated from Kapoho and relocated in Pahoa. Our hearts are broken once again.

 

An Excerpt from Kapoho: Memoir of a Modern Pompeii by Frances H. Kakugawa

“Did you hear? Someone saw Pele facing Pāhoa. I think Pāhoa is going to be next.”

Kapoho cover
I was away in college, buried under my studies to get pidgin out of my mouth on my way to becoming a famous writer. I had no way of learning firsthand what was happening to my family and friends in or out of Kapoho. That panic later turned into anger as I shot bombastic arrows into my speech class. Instead of giving my prepared speech that day, I tossed it aside and gave vent to some improvised rage.

“Kapoho, my hometown, is being destroyed by lava as I stand here. In the snack bar downstairs, in the media and in conversations among many of you who have taken helicopter rides to view the eruption, I hear you saying things like ‘spectacular,’ ‘awesome’ and even ‘inspiring.’ The camera lenses and the firsthand sightings from low-flying helicopter rides only show Pele’s fire. That can be awesome. Spectacular, even, if Kapoho were just a piece of dirt, a nowhere place that nobody cares about. But Kapoho is where I grew up.

“My family has evacuated to my aunt’s house. I was there last weekend when my father’s name shrieked from the radio to identify the next house that was destroyed. My father’s response made me feel afraid for him as I watched his disbelief. I was afraid that his mind could crack like the land beneath our house, cracked wide open by earthquakes.

“My father looked at us and said, ‘That can’t be me. That must be another Sadame Kakugawa.’ It was spooky to hear him say that.

“My father is a simple plantation worker. He earns minimum wage to support our family of seven and send me to school. We depend on our thirteen acres of cane land to pay off our debts. Losing our home would just kill him.

“When my mother told him, ‘It is your house. There is no other Sadame Kakugawa,’ my father just sat there. I could see him looking for some way out. The hardest thing I had to watch that sad day was his resignation. He said, ‘If Pele wants my house, she can have it.’

“And that’s just one story, mine. There’s a village full of stories like this, and the saddest part is that there isn’t even a village anymore. You want spectacle? There’s a spectacle for you.”

I sat abruptly down. At least one person had heard me that day, because for the rest of the year, my lunches were paid for at the snack bar. All I knew about my benefactor was that he was a veteran.

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