Keoni Kō, Pala ka Mai‘a

Author: 
Kīhei de Silva

 

Photo: Kīhei de Silva
Ho‘okahi nō puana o ka pu‘uwai
Onipa‘a ke aloha nou e Pauahi.

Keoni Kō is John Doe, as in Doe vs Kamehameha Schools. "Pala ka Mai‘a" is an expression of distaste, of scorn for something worthless. And Ha‘awina, Komana, and Polokika are the Hawaiianized names of the three lawyers who filed suit against KS on behalf of Doe. "Keoni Kō, Pala Ka Mai‘a" is patterned after S. Pinao’s "Hoohuiaina Pala ka Maia" and relies, as well, on the patriotic language of several other mele published with Pinao’s work in F. J. Testa’s Buke Mele Lahui, an 1895 collection of Hawaiian nationalist songs. Pinao’s "Pala Ka Maia" castigates the men responsible for the overthrow of the Hawaiian nation and the imprisonment of Lili‘uokalani; the new "Pala Ka Mai‘a" expresses support for Pauahi in the face of what, more than a century later, can still be characterized by Pinao’s bitter words: "Hapapa hewa ana ou maiuu / I ka pahu hinuhinu a Paleka."

‘Auhea wale ‘oe e kahi Ha‘awina
Kahi Mī Komana me kahi Polokika 
‘O ka pololoa ia a ka manu aeto
‘O ka uahi polohina o ka pū raifela
Pēlā nō i kaulia ‘o Keoni Kō 
Ho‘onui i ka ilina a ke kau āhua
‘O ka ua Pō‘aihale ka‘u i aloha 
Ka nene‘e i ka uka o Kaiwi‘ula 
He ‘ūlāleo paha na Kekīloumoku
No ka pala o ka mai‘a ho‘ohui‘āina
Ho‘ohui ‘ia nā pu‘uwai haokila
Kūpa’a ma hope o Pauahilani
Ho‘okahi nō puana o ka pu‘uwai
Onipa‘a ke aloha nou e Pauahi.

A certain Mr. Ha‘awina, a Mr. Komana
And a Mr. Polokika should hearken here
This is the blundering of eagles
The sadly-remembered smoke of rifles
Thus has Keoni Kō been ridden
To increase the mound-dwellers’ hoard
The Pō‘aihale rain is what I love 
As it spreads slowly above Kaiwi‘ula 
It is a warning, perhaps, from Kekīloumoku
Concerning the rotten banana -- annexation
We, the steel-hearted loyalists have long been united
Steadfast in our support of Pauahilani 
The heart has but one refrain
Steadfast is our love for you, Pauahi.

 

© Kīhei de Silva, 2005