A Keālia

C. Pueo Pata


Photo: US Geological Survey, Forest & Kim Starr, starr-030820-0239.

An aerial view of the coastal wetlands of Keālia and the surf of Ānehe at Ma‘alaea, Maui o Kama. Cody Pueo Pata identifies Keālia as the place at which he received the inspiration for his mele. Keālia, he explains, “literally means ‘the salt bed,’ as the ‘alaea beds of Keālia were anciently used for evaporating sea water in the production of salt. However, the name ‘Keālia’ is a play on of the word ‘alia - to wait (command form).’” The second line of the mele, Pata continues, ”speaks of the cool Hau breeze, the resident wind of the Keālia area. However, the wind name ‘Hau’ is a play on the word ‘hau - to lay before, as a sacrifice or prayer.’ Therefore, the first verse can be taken to mean, ‘I am forced to wait as I lay forth that which I am offering.’” Conventional wisdom views Hawaiian poetry as unsophisticated – as lacking in texture, depth, and control. Misconceptions of this sort are readily dispelled by careful examination of the dual nature of the key words and place names that appear in the remaining verses of “A Keālia.” Pata advises us that, from this point forth, his mele, “can alternately be looked upon as a description of the process that a love-desperate person takes when commissioning the efforts of the kahuna hana aloha in securing love.”

"A Keālia" is a mele that was inspired both by the elements and geography apparent from the area around the wetlands of Keālia, Ma‘alaea, Maui, and by my previous un-attached status at the time when the mana‘o for this composition was first conceived in 1999. This mele ka‘apuni travels around the Keālia area depicting the natural elements and geographic features seen about these wetlands. A closer look might reveal that this mele could also metaphorically portray the journey of someone desperate to find love.

A Keālia aku nei au lā
I ka pua ‘ana mai a ka Hau

Huli aku i ke kai o Ānehe lā
Kai hāwana nehe mālie

He mana‘o i ka uka Pu‘u Anu lā
Pili mai ho‘i ‘o Pu‘u Moe

‘O ke oe makani i ke kula lā
Ualo aku i Kama‘oma‘o

‘O ka mao a ka ua Nāulu lā
Ahuwale mai Pu‘u o Kali

E kali nō wau i ‘ane‘i lā
I ka pua ‘ana mai o ke kō

‘O ke kō a ka wai o Waikapū lā
Kapu wale ‘oe na‘u ho‘okahi

Ha‘ina ‘ia mai ka ‘i‘ini lā
Ku‘u lei nani, lei pua kō

‘Ae, ua noa i ka lele a ka manu lā-

He inoa no Ku‘u-lei-pua-kō

© C. Pueo Pata, 1999