Garden Isle, a tapestry in green,
With flowered thorn, Jurassic fern and buttressed tree,
Cloaking razor ridge and crater bowl
Once over brimmed by lava, flaming red,
Now canyoned down to torrent beds.
Mighty Wai ale ale bathes in warm Pacific rains,
Flooding crystal falls which from her summit drain
To hidden azure pools, cool retreat from tropic heat;
Mists shroud the mystic cliffs and clefts of magic Napali,
Echoing thundering breakers fetched from far-north Bering Sea.
Trades first beached Cook upon Waimea’s blackened sand,
Delta threshold to a Canyon, deep and grand:
Feral goats graze the sun-burnt, rusting precipice,
As white-tailed tropics wheel above, and
Wild boar tusk the upland swamp for root and grub.
Waterfowl and taro share valley ponds, sustaining poi traditions,
Above are Princeville mansions, manicured by dot.com millions;
Bali Ha’i and Hanalei recall romantic film and magic dragon,
Turtles laze the sheltered drift along Anini beach,
Boobies dance cliff thermals at Kilauea light as humpbacks breach.
Leeward, fertile coastal plains of weathered ancient reef and lava soil
Once grew sweet sugar under plantation rule and toil;
Hanapepe’s weathered face reflects a youth of opiate escape from cane field misery,
Abandoned mills and rails rust in the tinder grass,
An ancient garbage dump transforms into shimmering sands of glass.
The Spouting Horn trumpets its rain-bowed plume
From rocky shelf above the pounding spume,
Mere shadow of a giant blasted to desalt the cane;
Beyond in dark, gloss- green descend the bushy rows,
Coffee, aromatic brew from black earthed lava flows.
Before Koloa’s dappled, eucalyptus-tunnelled way,
A post trades beads of pearl, fire coral and shelly lei;
Monkey pods frame the board-walked market square,
Roosters rule the beach, villa lawn and mountain brush,
Crowing dawn to dusk in territorial lust.
Monk seal and turtle green haul up on Poipu’s beach tombolo,
Boards boogie surf and ride the curl,
Below, in coral rock and foaming surge,
Wrasse, trigger, parrot, unicorn and moon-idol
Medley with tang, goat, trumpet, butterfly and moray eel.
Past Brennecke and Shipwreck Beach where cast nets snare in ocean’s boil,
Past stately Hyatt’s lawns and pools of koi,
Stand fossil cliffs, carved by Pacific gods into mythic gargoyle beasts
To guard sacred warrior beaches beneath the gaze of mighty Kawelikoa,
Where wind-gnarled bonsai cling to cliff-top lava.
The crimson orb of a setting sun sinks gently to Pacific rest,
Silhouetting anvil clouds above the luminous ocean crests,
At silent vigil lovers, young and old, kiss farewell to a balmy day;
Half sun crescents to a final flash of green,
Night falls; calm darkness lit by Kaua’i’s moon bids serenity in dream.
Bryan D. Cook February 2011
Context for Kaua'i Seduction
Bryan, his wife Tanya and family friends Keith and Alexa Brewer spent a sunny winter week (January 29 to February 5, 2011) on the island of Kaua’i in the Hawaiian archipelago. Though located very comfortably on the south shore in Aston Villas, thanks to villa owners Mark and Ann Riley, the quartet was seduced by Kaua’i’s rural beauty and wild variety of land- and seascapes. They travelled extensively, armed with Andrew Doughty’s Ultimate Guide (Wizard Publications Inc), a truly honest and detailed companion. The result was this memory written at 30,000 feet on the return flight to Canada.