Monday, October 3, 2016

Ni'ihau to His Bride

One telephone line stretched across the third mesa
Is the final sign, to those who'd know,
That the death of the world is near.
There's not even that here;
They communicate over distances by telepathy or mail.
Once a week the boat arrives, with food stamp rations
And propane, and a chance, Christ willing, for some shopping
In Kauai on the Robinson family dime.

Some say there's over 200, some 70, some 30
Left on this infertile island, spearing fish
In canoes they whittled, spending weeks
Gathering shells for the right shade of prickly pear pink
To braid a necklace for some mainland queen,
Finding water holes to grow breadfruit or taro,
Knowing every stone God by name, and all the grasses
By voice, in day-long prayers to the spirit of the flowers
In hopes that it might be her ...

No time, no money, no power & light, as inconceivable
To us as God delivering our food from our prayers.
It's not that we are jealous, vengeful gods (although we are),
But this can't compete with the Sunbeam hair dryer,
The guava cocktail and dashboard hula dolls
Of the needy people trying to help, be of use, be of service.

Yet to them for all our waste and ignorance 
Somehow it never makes us happy.
In pity, they fancy themselves the same,
Collecting shells before they're pulverized to dust.
Their faith was never taken in that wooden mission church
Like their rain; they gather round the cavern hole to sing
Hymns to the ancestors, the volcano people deep within the earth

Asking is it real love, or did the lava God leave her in the keeping
Of something that could not offend his jealousy?
Still, the lavender light runs softly between the two of them
Holding them together with unbreakable force of love.
Emasculated or protected, alive or dead,
Only the racing clouds know for sure.
The amniotic fire changes form, changes nature,
But is changeless just the same...

Even if there was one last person there, the spirit 
Would still hold, as was written in the holy book of rock.
The mist of endless longing for his woman
Hits the mountains here, and in its sweetness of smoke
The spiriteye sees rainbows across to the island
Always soaking in an indigo cloud, like an illusion
That like everything else important
Can suddenly disappear 
Into nothing but ocean.

Via magic, the old ways always return
Unless there's no more magic,
The sun rising in late afternoon
Can no longer be seen, and an island
Can no longer escape from its shroud
Into something we can learn from.

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