Ua (Ka) o Nu‘uanu

Author: 
Manu Boyd

 

Photo: Kīhei de Silva
"Uluwehi ka luna i Lanihuli / Pulu pē i ka nihi a ka ua -- The heights of Lanihuli are green with growth / Drenched by the creeping rain." These lines from the old mele "Pulu Pē Nei "Ili i ke Anu" remind us that Manu Boyd¹s "Ka Ua o Nu‘uanu" belongs to a proud tradition of Hawaiian song-writing that associates the intense emotions of love with Nu‘uanu¹s rain-saturated uplands. Pu‘u Lanihuli, photographed here from the Pali Lookout, is one of two guardian peaks of the Nu‘uanu gap: Konahuanui stands to the south; Lanihuli, to the north.

“The rain was kind of different in Nu‘uanu that day (8-6-02). Actually, a week prior, it was really unusual - almost eerie. On August 7, I was sitting in a two-hour meeting, was thinking about the rain, and wrote this. They thought I was taking copious notes. Not! Rather than being a reflection of specific thought or emotion, ‘Ka Ua o Nu‘uanu’ was a personal exercise in applying pattern and theme in Hawaiian composition. Same first line in each verse, and the use of the senses. Purposely left out ‘hearing.’ That's what the song is for.”

Ka ua o Nu‘uanu
He kēhau i ka maka
Ho‘opulu lihilihi
Ka luhi a ke aloha

Ka ua o Nu‘uanu
He ‘a‘ala i ka ihu
Puia ka nahele
Hanu lipo o ka uluwehi

Ka ua o Nu‘uanu
He pahe‘e i ka pu‘u
‘Ono ia wai anu
Mūkīkī a ka manu

Ka ua o Nu‘uanu
He hu‘i koni i ka ‘ili
‘Olu iho ka manene
I ka pūliki pumehana

Ka ua o Nu‘uanu
He pakika i ka wāwae
Mālama pono ke hehi
O hina auane‘i e

Ka ua o Nu‘uanu
He ma‘ema‘e i ke kino
Helu i nā pōmaika‘i
I pono ai ka nohona 

The rain of Nu‘uanu
Brings mist to the eyes
Drenching the lashes
Revealing the burden of love

The rain of Nu‘uanu
Is sweet to the nose
The forest is fragrant
Breathe deeply of the lush greenery

The rain of Nu‘uanu
Is smooth to the throat
Delicious, this cool water
Sipped by the birds

The rain of Nu‘uanu
Tingles the skin
This feeling is eased
In warm embrace

The rain of Nu‘uanu
Causes the feet to slip
Be careful as you take a step
Or you might fall

The rain of Nu‘uanu
Is cleansing to the body
Count your blessings
That life will be better

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Manu Boyd, 2002.