Lau Kapalili

Author: 
Kipi Brown

 

Jan Becket

Pōhaku Māwae, Makali'i Valley, Maunawili. When Kanahau asked for Hi 'iaka’s physical affection in return for the lū 'au that he had prepared for her, she led him to believe that she would comply with his request. It is said that the rock formation subsequently named Pōhaku Māwae is the “woman” with whom Kanahau awoke the next morning.

An un-named Kailua, O'ahu, poet of the late 19th century looked out over the once-flourishing fish pond and kalo-rich embankments of Kawainui and saw only the limu pae hewa of neglect and the 'ōpala 'ai of the immigrant. He mourned the absence of the pond’s guardian, the mo'o Hauwahine, who had guaranteed the prosperity of Kailua as long as its people maintained the harmony of their relationships with each other, their 'āina, and their akua. “If you were to return now,” he wrote, “who would even recognize you; who would wail; who would cry out in welcome?” (“'O ‘Oe nō Paha Ia e ka Lau o ke Aloha,” in Emerson’s Unwritten Literature of Hawai'i, 82-3.) “Lau Kapalili” was composed a century later, but under much the same circumstances. It mourns the loss of Maunawili Valley to foreign developers and their exclusive golf course.

Ake a'e ka mana'o iā Maunawili
I ka holu lau kalo, lau kapalili.
I Makali'i au e 'alawa maka
Kahi a ka mea huna a ka wahine.
Ki'eki'e i luna ke kū o Ahiki
A he nani he maika'i ke 'ike aku.
A hiki mākou i Makawao
He pōnaha wai lipo la'i ka palai.
Ua hui pū nā wai a'o ke āwawa
Me he lei ho'ohie no Hauwahine.
Na wai nō 'o ia e ualo aku
I ka ho'i hou mai a Kea'ia'i?
Eia a'e nō 'oe, e ka pu'u dālā
Ua nalo ka maika'i a'o Mokulana.
Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana
No ka holu lau kalo, lau kapalili.

I yearn for Maunawili
The swaying kalo leaves, trembling leaves.
At Makali'i I see with a glance
The site of the woman's secret.
Mt. Ahiki is high above
So wonderful to see.
When we reach Makawao
There is a pool deep and still with palai.
The waters of the valley once joined together
Like a beautiful lei for Hauwahine.
Who will cry out to her
When The Bright-Skinned One returns?
Here you come, hill of dollars
The beauty of Mokulana is lost.
Tell the summary of the song
For the swaying kalo leaves, trembling leaves.

© Kipi Bown, 2002