Nani Makapu‘u

Author: 
J.R. Kaha’i Topolinski

 

Photo: Kīhei de Silva
"Nānā i ka milo ‘ala o ‘Ihi‘ihilauākea -- Inspiring is the vision of fragrant milo clusters at ‘Ihi‘ihi." According to Kawena Pukui, Ihi‘ihilauākea is a "crater west of Hanauma Bay, and bridge over ravine between Blowhole and Hanauma Bay." The wide-leafed ‘ihi‘ihi, she continues, is "an extinct or unknown plant said to have grown at this site" (Place Names of Hawai‘i, 55).

Our kūpuna tell us that milo seed-clusters and the incantation "He milo ka lā‘au, mimilo ke aloha" were used in hana aloha to cause the object of one’s desire to be caught up in love that "goes round and round." Love magic of the milomilo sort is probably at work in this mele: it catches us up in milo fragrance on the road between Makapu‘u and Hanauma; it spins us around at Kuli‘ou‘ou; it sweeps us, over the course of a sleepless night, to Mokulē‘ia; and it calls us home to Waipi‘o, kahi a "Kōha‘i" Topolinski e kau ahiahi ai. 

Nani Makapu‘u ‘au ana i ke kai
Nānā i ka milo ‘ala o ‘Ihi‘ihilauākea 
I ‘ōpā ‘oe i o‘u palaoa a le‘a au
E le‘a ho‘i au i ke kumu o ka makewai
E pualu ai nā puakou o ka moena pāwehe
E uhu ē ka‘u mamake li‘a wale
Kau i luna ka ‘āhui milo ‘ula o Kuli‘ou‘ou
Kōha‘iha‘i ka pua hīnano, ka ololani
Moe ‘ole ka pō o ka mea kapa ‘ahu ‘ole
Aloha i‘au ke kai o Neneli‘a
Ka ua noe me he uwahi ala i Mokulē‘ia
‘A‘ohe makani nāna e lohe
E meheu ai ka papa o ka pi‘o ahi
E honi aku i ka wai pū‘ala o ke nēnē
Hele ho‘i ke kia manu i ka uka loa
I ka uka o Waipi‘o o ke ‘ala loa nei.

Impressive is Makapu‘u reaching out to the sea
Inspiring is the vision of milo clusters at ‘Ihi‘ihi
One grasps the ivory necklace causing euphoria
A euphoria that brings a thirst for work
To fashion a puakou wreath on the Ni‘ihau mat
The work here is uncontrollable
High up hang the clusters of milo at Kuli‘ou‘ou|
Full blown are the hīnano and coconut trees
Sleepless is the night when there is no kapa to clothe one
Remembered is the sea of Neneli‘a
Misty like the thick smoke at Mokulē‘ia
There is no wind that can hear
That can sneak up to the boundary arching with fire
To inhale the sweet fragrance of the thick sap of the nēnē grass 
Return, return O bird catcher to the heights
To the uplands of Waipi‘o's extended sweetness.

 

© J.R. Kaha‘i Topolinski, 2003