Mr. Uyeki was a first generation immigrant from Japan who went to Hawaii after being lured by posters promising white mansions and exotic palm trees and beaches.  His first home was a Quonset  house. He labored in the sugar cane fields. He eventually became a very proud U.S. citizen. When he was in his late 80’s, he had a knee replacement surgery and refused all pain killers. The hospital staff and his physician couldn’t talk him into taking the drugs when he shouted, “Me Body, Me Boss.”

Mr Uyeki is gone now, but  I  hear his  voice, loud and clear:  Me Body, Me Boss!

Thank you, Uyeki-san.


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.