Mele (Ke) a me ke Kaona o ia Mele i Haku ‘Ia

Author: 
Kīlau Pali

This story appears in the October 9, 1922, edition of the Hawaiian language newspaper Kū‘oko‘a and explains the circumstances behind the composition of “Noho nō i Puna ka Nani me ka Maika‘i,” the mele ho‘āeae with which the story begins. To summarize: a young man and woman of Puna, Hawai‘i, fall in love and live together as man and wife. In time, another young man arrives from Hilo; he befriends the couple, and they accept him into a punalua relationship. The stranger’s lively and industrious behavior endears him to the woman’s enfeebled father whose constant complaining about his first son-in-law eventually sours the relationship and drives away this patient, forgiving, and now heart-broken hūnōna kāne. The young man travels to Honolulu where, in the marketplace at ‘Ulakoheo, he meets and hires an expert at ho‘āeae (mele that are expressive of powerful emotions; mele that are delivered in a distinctive two-line style that features a holding-out of vowel sounds, usually at the end of the second line of each couplet). Kū, the chant master, agrees to teach the young man to oli; he also agrees to compose for him a mele ho‘āeae guaranteed to win back the heart of his estranged wife. All that Kū promises comes to pass: the young man returns home with “Noho nō i Puna,” and his soulful chanting of the mele is, indeed, the “lā‘au puhipuhi” by which her love is re-ignited. “Mamuli o kēia mele i ho‘i hou ai kēia mau mea a noho he kāne a wahine, a hiki i ka uhi ‘ana o kapa ‘ele‘ele...” Because of this mele, the two live again as husband and wife, and they remain so until covered by the black shroud of death.

The story is well-told and certainly worth reading for the simple enjoyment of plot, character, and language. It is also of considerable interest to students of the ho‘āeae: it gives the chant-form a specific social and historical context; it offers a glimpse into the manner in which the skills of a 19th century master chanter were displayed and his services engaged; it details the often-stated but under-illustrated Hawaiian belief in the power of words (especially the power of carefully selected and delivered words); and it encourages a redefinition of the ho‘āeae as a distinct genre of poetry - and not simply as a set of vocal qualities with which an oli is delivered.

We have, to the best of our ability, provided orthographic editing for the Kū‘oko‘a's original text. In some cases, we have left this text unaltered in deference to what might be termed the "meaningful ambiguity" of certain unmarked words and phrases. We've left other passages unaltered in recognition of our inability to properly understand them. The reader is encouraged to form his own conclusions by viewing the original "Ke Mele a me ke Kaona o ia Mele i Haku ‘Ia" at Ulukau: The Hawaiian Electronic Library. Readers unfamiliar with the sound of ho‘āeae are directed to Kalani Akana's rendition of "Mele Ho‘oipoipo" on the CD Nā Kumu Hula, Songs From the Source v.1, SCHH CD-7100. This mele is, in fact, "Ku'u wahine i ke kula loa lā o Kahu‘a / Mai ka ua li‘ili‘i lā o Mānoa" - the ho‘āeae whose text appears near the conclusion of the story below.

Noho nō i Puna ka nani me ka maika‘i,
He hale kipa ia na ke ‘ala me ke onaona,
Onaona ka maile ka hala o Kea‘au,
Aloha ai nō ke kupu o Kaniahiku.
Kū maila ka ua o Nahunahu ki‘eki‘e i luna,
Ho‘okakano lua i ka la‘i o Wahinekapu,
Puapua‘i maila nā leo ‘awahia a ka manu,
Nā kauna ‘ōlelo a ka Pu‘ulena i ka uka,
Kaka‘o ka waha o ka ua Nahua i kanahele,
I ka ‘ī mai nō ua lilo o ‘Ōma‘olala iā Pana‘ewa,
He aha nō ka hewa ke ‘ai ‘ia ka‘u hakina,
He po‘o maunu ia na‘u i ‘ai a kau i ka lā‘au,
Ua pau maila i ka makapehu o ka uka,
Ia kini noho nahele noho pōloli o La‘a,
Mana‘o a‘e ke ola i ka hakina pua ‘ai a ka manu,
He koena ia na ka Nāulu i ‘ai a ha‘alele,
Ke pane mai lā, e ho‘ā‘ā, ke kona waianuhea,
Peulaka ‘ū ka hau anu a ka Wai‘apo,
'O ka‘u hana akamai loa ia ‘o ke kōnane,
He helu ‘ekahi au i ka pūlapu i lono ‘oe,
‘O ‘oe nō ka ‘ole he mā‘uka‘uka ‘e‘epakēkē,
He sela ‘oe no mua he huki kaula kāu hana,
He pulumi ‘oneki ‘oe no ka papahele.
‘O wau mai nō ka haku ka ‘ona o ko‘u waiwai,
A he wahi aloha, no Puia,
I ke onaona ka paia o Puna.

'O kēia mele ma luna a‘e, ua haku ‘ia e kekahi mea ‘oko‘a, a he ‘ōlohe haku mele paha ka ‘ōlelo āna.

 

Aia i ka 'āina paia 'a'ala i ka hala o Puna, i Hawai'i, e noho ana kekahi keiki me kona mau mākua i ka 'āina i pana 'ia ka inoa 'o Maku'u, a 'oiai ua 'ōpu'u ke kākala o ka moa 'ōpio i kēia mau lā, no laila ua mākaukau nō ka lawai'a huki ulua o ka makalae.

I kekahi lā, ua 'ike akula 'o ia i kekahi kaikamahine 'ōpio helehelena ma'ema'e, ua hihia ihola ka 'īkoi o kona pu'uwai i ka ho'ohihi i kēia u'i, 'a'ole na'e 'o ia wale nō kai loa'a ia ha'awina, akā o kēlā u'i pū nō kekahi, a i loko o ia hauli lele a ka mana'o, ua huikau a'ela nā lā'au ihu o ka moku Kahiki, a ho'opa'a akula ka laina o hope i ka niu moe o Kalapana.

Iā lāua i noho a'e ai he kāne a he wahine, ua lilo ia i mea 'olu'olu i ko lāua mana'o, a pēlā nō ho'i me ka 'ohana o nā 'ao'ao 'elua.

Mamuli o ke 'onawaliwali o ka makuahōnōwai kāne, ua ho'i akula nā keiki a noho me ia mau mākua.

Eia kēia manawa o ka 'āina i nā lā o ke 'ō koholā, a i kaulana ho'i ka po'e holokahiki, e kū ana nā moku i Hilo, Lahaina a me Honolulu nei.

I kekahi lā, ua hiki akula kekahi huaka'i hele i Puna, a i loko o ia huaka'i kekahi keiki, ua noho ihola kēia po'e i Puna no kekahi mau lā.

I kēia noho 'ana, ua ho'aikāne ihola kēia keiki malihini, me ke keiki kama'āina o Maku'u, nāna ka wahine a noho ihola lākou me ka maika'i. 'O kēia keiki malihini he mikimiki 'o ia, a e hana ana i nā hana āpau, a mamuli o ia kūlana 'eleu, ua lilo ia i mea e punahele ai i ka makua kāne o ka lāua wahine.

I kekahi manawa hele pū nō kēia keiki kama'āina me ke aikāne i waena mahi 'ai, a i kekahi manawa hele kēia keiki kama'āina i ka lawai'a.

Iā ia e ho'i mai ai mai ka lawai'a mai, a no ka mania i ke kai, ke pau nō ka 'ai 'ana, hā'ule nō hiamoe.

Mamuli o ia hana a ka hūnōna, ua lilo ia i mea e ho'owahawaha loa ai o kēia makuahōnōwai kāne i ka hūnōna.

I kekahi lā 'ōlelo akula ka makuakāne i ke kaikamahine: "Ikaika nō ho'i ke aikāne a 'olua i ka mahi 'ai, ola wale ka noho 'ana o ke kāne kēia, inā nō ho'i paha pēlā ko kāne a kāua e noho nei, 'o ka lawai'a nō a ho'i mai, he hiamoe ka hana o ka lā.

Mamuli paha o kēia mau 'ōlelo a ka makua, ua hihia 'i'o kēia u'i o Puna me ke aikāne a kāna kāne, ai'ole ia ua lou mua aku nō paha ka nī'au niu o Kalapana i ka malihini, ho'ohua ho'i kēia 'ōlelo a ka makua:

Pā iho iā Kīna'u,
Wai'olu wale ka mana'o;
Me he ua li'ili'i lā.
'O ka pā a ke Kona ē,
A ka makani ikaika.

Na ia mau 'ōlelo paha a ka makua i ho'onanāko'i loa a'e i ka mana'o o kēia kaikamahine.

Ia wā nō ho'i e panepane kū mau ana nō ho'i kēia makuahōnōwai kāne, me ke 'ano 'a'aka i ka hūnōna.

Me ia 'ike nō na'e o kēia hūnōna i ka hana a ka makua kāne o kāna wahine, 'a'ole ia he mea nona e 'iha'iha ai o kona mana'o; mai kona wā 'ike 'ole, a hiki i kona 'ike 'ana i nā hana a ka wahine me ke aikāne; 'o ka hopena, ua kā'ili a'ela ke aikāne i ka wahine a lāua a lilo loa iā ia.

I kekahi lā āna i ho'i aku ai i ka hale, ua ho'opuka maila ua aikāne nei i nā 'ōlelo 'awa'awa i ka 'ī 'ana mai:

"Kū 'oe a hele mai kēia hale aku, 'a'ole āu wahine o 'one'i, me a'u kēia wahine a ho'olu'olu."

'O ka makua kāne o ka wahine kekahi i kōkua ma hope o kēia hūnōna hou, a no ka nui o nā 'ōlelo 'eha'eha i pane 'ia mai i mua o kona alo, ua hilahila 'o ia, a ha'alele akula i ka hale o ka wahine.

'O kahi i noho ai o kēia 'ohana, aia i kula aku, 'a'ole i kahakai.

He aikāne nō ho'i kā kēia kaikamahine, aia i kahakai kahi i noho ai me kāna kāne; ua ho'i akula kēia kāne a ke aikāne a noho pū me lāua; eia na'e e uē mau ana ke kāne i ke aloha i ka wahine, a mamuli o ia ulu'ā o kona no'ono'o, ho'oholo ihola 'o ia i kona mana'o e hele i ka 'ae'a, i 'ole e 'ike aku i ka maka o ka mea aloha, a lohe aku ho'i i nā 'ōlelo hō'oni'oni a ke aikāne e pili ana nona a me ka wahine a lāua āna i aloha ai.

'A'ole i lilo kēia mau hana aloha 'ole a ka wahine iā ia, i mea nona e huhū ai, akā ua nānā aku 'o ia i ka wahine me ka pu'uwai i piha i ke aloha, a me ka make'e no kona mau 'ano maika'i, a ua ulu nō i loko ona ka mana'o, na kona makuahōnōwai nō kēia mau hana ho'omoemoe, a me kēia aikāne hulumanu (aikāne 'oiai'o 'ole) wekaweka.

Iā ia e noha ana me nā aikāne a lāua, ke mau nei ka pa'a o kona mana'o e hele i ka 'ae'a.

I kekahi lā hele akula lāua i ka lawai'a me ke kāne aikāne, a loa'a nō ho'i ka i'a, ho'i maila a hiki i ka hale, ho'ā ke ahi, pūlehu ka i'a a mo'a. Iā lākou nei i mākaukau ai e 'ai, ia wā i hū mai ai ke aloha o ka wahine, na ka waimaka nō e hele, hopu ihola i ka i'a a ho'opā a'ela i ka waha, a waiho hou ihola i ke pā, noho ihola kēia nāna.

'Ī maila nā aikāne: "'U'umi ke aloha, 'ai iho a mā'ona kākou, a laila pi'i aku au i uka e ki'i ku'u aikāne, e ho'i mai i kai nei."

'Ōlelo akula ke kāne: "'Ae, e 'ai 'oe a mā'ona, a ha'i aku 'oe i wahi i'a na ko aikāne, a lawe pū aku 'oe me kēia wahi i'a a'u i ho'opā a'e nei i ka waha i ka laepo'o, a nāna ho'i e 'ai aku, ua mā'ona a'e la nō ho'i au i kona aloha, a hui aku 'oe me ia hā'awi aku i ke aloha."

Pau ka 'ai 'ana, liuliu a'ela ka wahine e pi'i e 'ike i ke aikāne.

A hala kēia, ua ho'omākaukau ihola kēia kāne i kona mau wahi pono āpau i loko o ka paiki 'ili hinuhinu o ia mau lā.

I ka 'ike 'ana mai o ke kāne aikāne i kēia liuliu ona, 'ōlelo maila 'o ia me ka mana'o aloha i kā lāua kāne aikāne:

"He paiki aha kēia e ho'omākaukau mai nei?

"E hele ana au," wahi āna.

'He aha ka mea e hele ai? Noho iho nō kāua a eia nō kā kāua wahine 'o ke aikāne a 'olua."

'Ōlelo akula 'o ia i kona hoa aikāne: "'A'ole paha 'o kāu mea i 'imi ai a loa'a, i kou lā kanaka u'i, 'o ia kā kāua e 'ai like ai? Ua ha'alele maila nō ka wahine a kāua ia'u, e aho e hele, 'ano'ai o loa'a aku nō ho'i ke kōko'olua i ke alahele.

"I noho ho'i 'oe a ho'i mai kēlā, hā'awi aku i ke aloha iā ia, eia au ke hele nei, 'ano'ai o ho'i hou mai nō ho'i i ka 'āina nei, hui hou nō kākou, a ma ka leka nō na'e e hui ai."

I ka pau 'ana o kēia mau 'ōlelo, 'o kona kaha maila nō ia hele no Hilo, kahi e loa'a ai ka moku. A hiki 'o ia i kahi o ka 'ohana, ua lohe ka 'ohana i ko lāua ka'awale me ka wahine, o kekahi inoa makuahine kai 'olelo mai iā ia: "Noho iho kāua i Hilo nei, eia iho nō ka wahine i ka 'āina nei, a mai hele 'oe i O'ahu."

'Ī akula kēia: "Mai 'au'a 'oe ia'u, e hele au e 'ike i ka huikau o ke kaona e kaulana nei, aia a kō ku'u mana'o a'u i 'upu ai e hele, he mea ho'i wale 'ia mai nō ka 'āina.

Pane maila kekahi makua kāne 'ohana: "Eia iho nō paha ka huikau o ke kaona i kai o Pi'ihonua, kahi e he'e ai nā pā-lau lena a ka moani, noho iho e ke keiki, 'o ke kanaka u'i auane'i kēnā e nele ai o ka loa'a o ka mea maika'i, eia nō i nā lā 'ōpio, no laila mai hele 'oe e ke keiki, noho iho kāua a aei mai ka nalu ha'i o Kāwili, a laila hele aku kāua i ka hehi pu'eone o Waiolama, hihia aku ka ihu o ke kala 'ōhono i ka 'upena pā'ou'ou o Makua, halala'a Puna i ke ahi a ka wahine."

He mau 'ōlelo ho'olanalana kēia a kēia makua kāne, 'a'ole na'e ia no'ono'o i loko o kēia keiki.

I ke kū 'ana mai o ka moku, ua ho'omākaukau ihola 'o ia no ka hele, i ka lā holo o ka moku ua kau maila 'o ia he 'ōhua moku, a hiki 'o ia i Honolulu nei, 'ike ihola i nā mea āna i lohe wale ai nō, a me kekahi 'ohana paha ona, kona hale kama'āīna, i 'upu mai ai e holo i O'ahu nei.

I luna na'e o ka moku, i hui ai 'o ia me kekahi keiki o Honolulu nei, a ho'okama'āina.

He moku pe'a ka moku o ia mau lā, a he mau lā, a he pule a 'oi, a laila kū mai i 'ane'i, mamuli o ka lō'ihi o ia mau lā, ua ho'aikāne ihola lāua.

A kū ka moku i ka uapo, ho'i akula lāua no kahi o kēia hale kipa hou ona, i 'ane'i o Koleaka, kahi noho o kona hale kipa o ke 'ano nō o kua'āina, e 'ike i ka mea hou o kēia wahi, ua hele lāua e māka'ika'i i ka nunu'a kānaka o ka Nekina, i ka huikau o Polelewa, a 'ike ho'i iā:

Nani wale ka pua i Honolulu,
Kīki'ipau nei ke kaona,
Pulu i ka hunawai piula,
Me ka lihilihi o pua rose.
Honi aku au o ke onaona,
Ke 'ala e māpu i ka poli,
Lawe a'e 'oe a ki'eki'e,
Kau i ka hale ipukukui.
E kuhi ana nō paha 'oe,
No uka au o ka Lihilou,
Kainō ua 'ike a'e 'oe,
I ko'u helu e kau ana.
Pā iho pā a'e pā mai,
Ha'alulu ke kahua maika.

I loko o kēia mau luhiehu āpau, 'a'ole ia he mea e ka'awale 'a'e ai ke aloha o ka wahine.

I ka 'auwinalā Pō'aono, 'ōlelo maila ke aikāne: "'E iho paha kāua i kai o 'Ulakoheo, i ka mākeke, ua piha akula kēia lā i nā kānaka."

"'Ae, e iho 'i'o kāua i laila."

Mākaukau lāua nei, a iho akula. Iā lāua i hiki aku ai, ua hele nō ho'i nā kānaka a popo'i, lohe akula kēīa i ka leo oli ho'āeae o kekahi mea, 'a'ole na'e 'o ia nei 'ike aku i ke kino, no ka mea ua hele a piha pū ia wahi.

Iā lāua e ne'ene'e aku nei i mua, 'ike akula kēia i ka mea e olioli ho'āeae nei, he wahi kanaka pīlalahi wale nō, he a'ia'i kahi 'ili, ua anae mae'a na'e i ka 'awa, 'ike akula 'o ia i kēia wahine i ka hele 'ana mai me ka huihui i'a a ho'okomo ihola i loko o ka 'ie e kau ana ma ke kihi o ke pākaukau a kēia kanaka e kū nei e oli, a 'onou maila kona lima i mua i ke kanaka oli, 'a'ole na'e kēia i 'ike aku he aha lā ia mea.

Ia wā i oli hou mai ai ua wahi kanaka nei i kēia mau lālani mele:

Hele mai ku'u aloha lā a nui,
A Līhu'e a Ka'ala lā ho'i mai,
A ka lana i ka wai o Kuene lā noho ana,
A pule e a Mālamanui ho'i mai ku'u aloha.

I ka wā a kēia mea e oli nei ua paila maila ke aloha o ka wahine i loko ona, ke ho'onalonalo wale lā nō 'o ia, ke 'ike maila na'e ke aikāne i kona 'ano uē, nīnau maila ke aikāne, "Eā, 'eha 'oe?"

"'A'ole," wahi āna.

"He aha lā kā ho'i kēia ou a'u e 'ike aku nei? Me he mea lā, ua loa'a 'oe i ka ma'i e 'u'umi nei i ka waimaka."

"'A'ole, e aloha a'e ana au i ka wahine a kāua, e noho maila i ka 'āina me ke kāne hou, 'o ia ke kumu o ko'u 'ano 'ē. No laila e ho'oku'u mai ho'i 'oe ia'u e hele a'e au e 'ike i kēlā kanaka."

Hele akula 'o ia kū'ai i kēlā i'a, kēia i'a a kū nā huihui, 'o ka uhu, ka 'anae, ka 'ō'io, lawe akula kēia a hiki ma kahi a ke kanaka oli e kū nei, pau nō ho'i kā ia la oli 'ana, 'ōlelo akula kēia:

"Eia ko i'a," ho'okomo ihola i loko o ke 'ie, piha i ka i'a, a pane maila 'o Kū (ka inoa o ka mea oli): "Ua nui maila ka i'a iā 'oe, he 'ai ko uka o Mānoa, e ho'i kāua i ko'u wahi!"

"'Ae," wahi a ia nei.

Haele akula lāua nei no ka hale kū'ai 'awa ma uka mai o ka mākeke, a loa'a nā hili 'awa, ho'i akula no ke kula o Kahu'a a hiki i uka o Mānoa, kahi o kona kama'āina hou e hele pū nei.

'Ike maila ko ka hale po'e; he malihini, 'eleu maila kama'āina; hopu ka moa hana a kū i ka ipu hao, hana nō ho'i ka i'a, mama ka 'awa.

'Oiai na'e 'o Kū e noho nei ma kāna malihini 'ōpiopio, 'ōlelo akula 'o ia iā Kū, kona kama'āina:

"Eia kā e 'ike ana iā Mānoa nei, e 'ole 'oe 'ike ana au i kēia wahi."

"'Ae," wahi a kona kama'āina, "ua 'ike ihola 'oe i ka hale, i noho a hele mai, inā 'a'ole au o ka hale nei, eia nō ka wahine a kāua, he hale kipa nou a me a'u, a moe kāua, 'ike ihola 'oe e ke aikāne, i ka 'āina i kaulana i ka ua li'ili'i," ia wā i olioli hou mai ai 'o Kū i kēia mele:

Ku'u wahine i ke kula loa lā o Kahu'a,
Mai ka ua li'ili'i o Mānoa,
Ke līhau mai lā i ke aho o ke kuikui I kuhi nō au he 'ehu kai no Māmala,
He 'āina i ka ihu o ka moku,
A moku mai ka pawa o ke ao ala a'e 'oe,
E ala a'e kāua ua ao 'eā,
Ua puka ka lā puka ke kānāwai,
A puka mai nō he mea hilahila,
I kaulana ai nā lehua i Nu'uanu.

'Oiai 'o Kū e pa-heahe nei i kēia mau lālani mele, 'ike maila 'o ia i kāna malihini, ua hele a pō i ka 'ula a nīnau maila 'o ia: "He aha kēia 'ano 'ē e hele nei a hālo'i ka wai o ka maka?"

"E aloha a'e ana au i ka wahine a kāua, e noho maila i ka 'āina," wahi a ka malihini.

"Aia i hea?" wahi a Kū.

"Aia nō i Hawai'i o Puna."

"A laila no Puna 'oe?"

"'Ae, 'o ko'u wahi ia."

"He aha nō ho'i ka mea hele pū 'ole mai me ka wahine i ka huaka'i hele?"

"Ua lilo i ke kāne hou," wahi a ke aikāne, "a no ke aloha i ka wahine, o ia ke kumu o ko'u hele 'ana mai i O'ahu nei a hui ihola kāua. 'O ko le'a i ke oli, ke kumu o ku'u hahai 'ana mai nei iā 'oe a hale kipa ihola kāua."

"Ua hiki," wahi a Kū, "noho iho kāua i Mānoa nei, a'o aku au iā 'oe i ke oli, a 'ike 'oe, a laila haku aku au i mele no ka wahine a kāua a pa'a, a laila 'oe ho'i a ko wahine, ke lohe 'o ia i ke mele ona, 'o ka lā'au puhipuhi ihola nō ia nāna e ho'iho'i mai i ko wahine."

Ua noho kēia keiki me Kū i uka o Mānoa, a'o i ke oli a 'ike, haku 'o Kū i kēia mele ma luna a'e, e like me ka mo'olelo a kēia keiki i haha'i ai.

'O nā lālani mua o ke mele e hō'ike ana nō ia i ka u'i a me ke 'ano maika'i o kāna wahine, pēlā nō 'o ia i aloha ai, a ma lalo mai nā 'ōlelo 'awa'awa a ka makuahōnōwai a me kahi aikāne hulumanu āna, a ma waena, nā 'ōlelo ho'ohilahila i kahi punalua aikāne, inā 'a'ole kāna wahine, inā 'a'ole 'o ia e 'ike i ka papa lohi o 'Āpua, a ma lalo loa nō ho'i nā 'ōlelo ho'oha'aha'a no ka punalua, 'a'ole 'o ia i kūpono i ali'i no ka moku, akā he kela kona kūlana kūpono.

Mamuli o kēia mele i ho'i hou ai kēia mau mea a noho he kāne a wahine, a hiki i ka uhi 'ana o kapa 'ele'ele, kau ka pua'a i ka nuku.

KĪLAU PALI
Nūpepa Kū'oko'a, 9 'Okakopa, 1922