Ku’u Moena Hīnalo

Author: 
J.R. Kaha‘i Topolinski

 

Kaha'i Topolinski and friend in Sydney, Australia, en route to the 8th Festival of Pacific Arts in New Caledonia, October, 2002.

“Composed for Chief Keawekūkahikona the ‘aikāne and punahele of Kamehameha I. See Kekūhaupi‘o by Desha; English translation by Frazier. Hīnalo is also hīnano. It refers to the bracts of the male hala (tree) blossoms. Na Kaha‘i Topolinski, March 5, 2003.”

Ua hana a lawa, ku‘u moena hīnalo
Ka’u e li‘a nei me ka maika‘i
E hi‘i ‘ia nei e ka malihini
Kou ‘ano, kou poli palu pumehana.

‘O ka pua mokihana poni kou kalaunu
I piha loa me ka lau lama ē
I mea e kāhiko ai nei u‘i
He wehi ‘a‘ahu kau nui i ka po‘o pali.

Me he manu le‘a ho‘ola‘i nō ‘oe
He launa ‘ole “kū i ka ni‘o”*
He moena nahenahe ‘ala ‘oe na Laka
He lawakua maiau ke ‘ike aku

Noe wale mai nō ke aloha ‘ena
I ka hulu lipo āu i haku ai
E maliu mai ‘oe, e ‘alawa mai
Ke kapa lei nou e Keawekūkahikona

Me ka mahalo nui e puana ‘ia nei
Kou moena hīnalo hana me ka maika‘i
A he nani ka wai ‘ala onaona
Kau i ku‘u kilohana o ke aloha ē.

Fashioned perfectly is this mat from hīnano bracts
That which I recall with fondness
Admired and praised by others
Your essence of warmth, soft is love

Your crown is of the purple mokihana
Woven abundantly with leaves of lama
A choice garland to grace your youthful essence
A beautiful covering for the chiefly one

You are likened to a skillful, gliding bird
Unequalled “at the pinnacle”
A mat of pleasing fragrance of Laka
An artful, lasting presence to behold.

Affection alights like the mist
Upon the soft mat you have fashioned
Harken, glance this way [O favored one]
This gift is yours, Keawekūkahikona.

With admiration this refrain is sung
For your mat of hīnano fashioned most splendidly
So beautiful is its perfumed fragrance
That drenches my being with longing.

 

 
 

© Kaha‘i Topolinski, 2003
* Mary Kawena Pukui, Dictionary, 267.