Kapa (Ke) Pua Memele

Author: 
J.R. Kaha‘i Topolinski

 

Kīhei de Silva
"Nani wale i ke kapa pua memele.” Kaha‘i Topolinski’s imagery of a kapa “fashioned of ‘ilima blossoms” is meaning-packed; it speaks, of course, of the beauty of his wife and the high-esteem with which he holds her; it speaks, as well, of her ancestral ties to Kākuhihewa and Kūali‘i, famous ali‘i of O‘ahu’s past; and it echoes, most subtly, the proverbial expression for physical union and long term emotional commitment: “‘Elua kāuā i ke kapa ho‘okahi,” two of us wrapped in a single kapa.
 

Composed for his wife Anne on their 34th wedding anniversary. “I consider it one of my best.
It shares the love experiences of our youth, using poetic references to Kona, Hawai‘i.”

Nani wale i ke kapa pua memele
Heno, ka sweet wai ‘ala i ka piko

E “pōlena pa‘a ‘ia iho ke aloha”*
Pili pū ke ‘ala ‘a‘ahu i ku‘u kino

Ho‘okahi a‘u aloha o ka wā u‘i
E ku‘u u‘i hiwa a Kākuhihewa

Ke māpu nei ke ‘ala o ka maile
E moani nei i ka waiku‘i o Kekela

Ka wai kaulana i ka la‘i
He ‘ona ho‘iho‘i i ka lei ‘iwalani

‘O ke ani peahi a ka lau ololani
I ka lawe mālie o ka ‘Eka

Ka makani kolonahe pā ahiahi
Hone ana i ke kai malino a ‘Ehu

Aia i ka maka lā o ka ‘ōpua
‘O ka lihilihi wai ānuenue

Ke nihi a‘ela nei a hāli‘i loa
Noenoe i ka uka o Alanapo

E pili pū kāua e ku‘u lei lau koa
I ka ua ‘ala loku a ka lau lama

Puana ke aloha i ku‘u u‘i lālē
‘O Kamamoakuali‘i, na‘u ku‘u lei u‘i

Beautiful, indeed, is the kapa fashioned of ‘ilima blossoms
Alluring, delicate, sweet perfume in my heart

“Our love is fastened tightly” together
A lingering fragrance that captures me

You are the first love of my youth
My royal beauty, cherished one of Kākuhihewa

The essence of maile floats in the breeze
A wind borne perfume from the waters of Kekela

That cherished pool standing in the calm
Its waters cause the handsome lover to return

The coconut leaves beckon and sway
In the gentle wafting of the ‘Eka breeze

The refreshing breeze awakens at evening
Sweetly, appealing softly to the calm sea of Chief ‘Ehu

Up above are the horizon clouds
Fringed with the hues of the rainbow

They move gracefully, spreading forth
Romance is in the uplands of Alanapo

Let me love you, my wreath of forest greens
With the sweet rain that pours over the Ni‘ihau mat’s design

Respond, my beloved one of endless beauty
‘O Kamamaokuali‘i, the true love of my youth.

©J.R. Kaha‘i Topolinski, 2003
*MKP