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Rapunzel by the sea

Locked in manic-tower thoughts,
I’ve found a walk beside the ocean,
beach-combing along the sunset’s
water-braid aglow
to be the best of Earth’s solutions
to the bursting of my mind’s latch
opened to a staircase
leading back into my body,
spiraled down into the sand around my feet.
And in breathing in the love of nature
I am rescued
from the tangles in my sanity.


Writing and photography by: Katy Claire Funke

Words for lost words

Lost and liquid

In the lost and liquid,
grasping at a puddle of words
adrift,
I am both wave and particle
to an accompaniment of rain.
Again, I try to sing to you
but cannot find my entrances—
cannot hear the key changes.
My voice falls shapeless,
pours too much,
yet finds itself
still drowned
in things I’ve left unsaid.



Written in dreams

On the edge of slumber
I wandered in my forest
of forgotten songs and poetry
where I’ve witnessed my best work be written
only to fall and scatter
into a soundless sheet of needles,
dried-up on the floor of waking.


Writing and photography by: Katy Claire Funke

Hope: from a great comet

In the darkest night I seek you.

My not-so-celestial body,
Earth-bound in grief,
still scales the mountain and waits.

The blackout lifts
as you take the stage.

Though I realize you are not a star,
but rather, something more like me:
a rare event of mostly water
and other pieces —
fleeting things,

I marvel as you grace the sky.
Everything fades around you.

And I hope you know the mark you make.
I hope you know you’re seen as light.



NEOWISE viewed from Mt. Haleakalā 7/23/2020

“It all fades away but you.” – Jason Robert Brown (The Bridges of Madison County the musical)

Writing and photography by: Katy Claire Funke

Pineapples, Cake and Poetry

The Long Way Home : A Pineapple’s Journey

Too long
Pineapple clung
to the juices she was born with.

Though she tried to hide the seep of syrup
from the rot of flesh
that cracked her armor.

She knew no magic pill,
nor painless shortcut
could extend her shelf life
any further.

And the only place that she could turn to

was the long road
to the lonely field.

Giving up the crown
she had held so high
upon her head,

she replanted herself
in the unknown soils,

and then began to wait …

Slowly
slowly
she replaced her fibers
with those that grew in the nutrient earth.

The veining roots brought green to stems
and blossomed the fruit within her core.

Still,
she remained,
while she rose from the ground —
fresh and full of wonder

at the sun
and the rain
and the stars
and their music
that echoed the song inside her.

Her skin turned gold with the honeyed dawn —
it’s sweetness gave off
a newfound fragrance.

And she glowed from within
with the light she’d unearthed :

a harvest
found buried in darkness.


I am completely AMAZED by pineapples! I had no idea how fascinating they were until I saw an actual pineapple plant for the first time: a miniature version of itself suspended atop a single stem, growing from the ground. How ridiculously adorable and miraculous that such a complex fruit is created this way!

Look at this tiny cutie!! 😍🍍

Here are some pineapple facts that have been blowing my mind recently:

  • One plant produces only one pineapple fruit per season.
  • Most species of pineapples take 24 months to reach maturity. That’s right, one pineapple from one plant takes two years to grow!
  • To grow a new pineapple plant you can simply twist off and replant the crown of a mature pineapple fruit.
  • The pineapple plant flowers with hundreds of little “fruitlets” that fuse together and become one fruit.
  • Once the pineapple ripens and the fruit is harvested, it stops ripening and its short shelf life begins quickly ticking away. So how you purchase the pineapple from the store is as ripe as it will ever be. It is only rotting at that point.
  • Although pineapples have become a symbol of Hawaiian agricultural, and Hawai’i is the only US state that grows them, they are not native to the Islands. They were introduced only in 1813.

🙃 I have always loved pineapple upside-down cake and wanted to try making one with fresh pineapple, instead of the traditional canned pineapple, most recipes call for.

This pineapple was grown right down the road from my house at the Maui Tropical Plantation. The fruit itself tasted like heaven, so I knew whatever was made with it would be divine!

This is a recipe I have adapted from many recipes and I am very happy with the outcome. The fresh pineapple caramelizes nicely with no overflow on the topping and the cake is dense and moist. Not only is this cake delicious, but the combination of spices and fresh pineapple makes your home incredibly fragrant when it is baking and after!

Fresh Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Ingredients

Topping:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
5-8 fresh pineapple slices (or 8-10 canned pineapple slices)
Maraschino cherries (to decorate with as you wish)

Cake:

1 and 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt (or 1/2 tsp table salt)
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
6 Tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg whites at room temperature
1/3 cup full fat Greek yogurt at room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk (or half and half), at room temperature

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
  2. Prepare topping:
    • Cut and up fresh pineapple into rings.
    • Pour melted butter into an ungreased 9×2 inch pie dish or round cake pan.
    • Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over butter.
    • Blot all excess liquid off the fruit with a paper towel and pineapple slices and cherries on top of the brown sugar.
    • Place pan in the refrigerator for a few minutes to set while you prepare the cake batter.
  3. Prepare cake batter:
    • Whisk cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cardamom and cinnamon together. Set aside.
    • Mix the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 min. Add the sugar and beat on high speed until creamed together, about 1 min, scraping down the sides as needed.
    • On high speed, beat in the egg whites until combined, then beat in the Greek yogurt and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed.
    • Slowly our the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Turn mixer on low speed, slowly pour in the milk. Beat on low speed just until all of the ingredients are combined. Do not over-mix.
  4. Remove topping from the refrigerator. Pour and spread cake batter evenly over topping.
  5. Bake for 43-48 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out mostly clean.
  6. Remove cake from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Invert the slightly cooled cake onto a cake stand or serving plate.

Pineapple Wine

Over a glass of pineapple wine
thoughts of you float to the surface,

sweetly swirling in my mind
as hours sip —
lick drips from the rim

and I smile
thinking how time is an ineffective metric

when you’ve fallen in love with a soul.


Writing and photography by: Katy Claire Funke

Little Love Poems

Flowers

I would have everything perfectly planned
before seeing you —
what I would say
and what I would do.
But the minute you walked in the door
I

forgot

the world becoming a field of flowers and all —
it distracted me.
Your scent filling the room.


Breathtaking

Me breathing is a prerequisite for
me singing,
which made it very difficult for
me to sing
anywhere near you.

Note: I am a singer


A Soulmate

I felt compelled to ask you
about reincarnation …
and we both looked puzzled,
but our souls got the question.
And I still don’t know how I can explain it —
how you’ve always been a part of me
no matter what we believe in.


Loving You

I’d preach it like a bible,
as I sing it like a hymn —
every word, every note,
my devotion to you,
as I write it on the walls
of temple of the world
until everyone believes
in what loving you can do.


Young love

… refuses to be buried.
The bud still unfurls,
claws out of the dirt :
a crazed, blind mole rat,
impossible to catch
before it climbs —
tunnels its way beyond any reasoning
in the brain
and commands to be drawn in blood
as a flower.


Haiku

My muscles get sore
from all the dancing I do
with the thought of you.


Unconditional

I realize now
that it wasn’t a matter of choice
from the head or the heart.
It was my soul that always loved you,
and there is no stopping that.


Writing and photography by: Katy Claire Funke

Falling in

All that I’ve wanted
is to fall in deeper :

to risk the riptides
and feel the unbound.

To let go and descend
as the absence of sound

until

I am

between
wave
and whale song —

sheathed in the dead zones,
whirled in the night sea’s
softening of limbs
into dust and atoms.

Even if it means me drowning

the rigidities of many selves
streaming out behind me

as I fall deeper into
the discovery of you.


Writing and photography by: Katy Claire Funke

Tried out some underwater photography while swimming today!

The Silversword

This is a true story.

There is a plant who can survive
in only ash and ice, and the harshest light.

They are warriors planted in the sky
from the rebel grounds of ocean floors.

These plants are known as Silverswords.

These plants grow only here.

They wear their suits reflecting sun
and fight the gales in uniform.

However, these knights have a secret they hold
much deeper than meets the eye …

Much like the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz,
their quest in life : to find their true hearts.

The heart they’ll hold but keep from light
until they are ready to blossom and die…

Each plant then waits in contemplation … years
(some up to fifty!)
Waiting in their questioning for a moment of truth
unfurling.

When they decide to give this heart—
breaking bread with dawn’s communion,

they show rare beauty, overflowing,
and color the skies with freedom blooming.



Poetry is very much alive in this incredible world!

The majestic Silversword plant grows only at the summit of Mt. Haleakalā on Maui and Mauna Kea on the big island of Hawaii. They arrived an estimated one million years ago on winds from ancestor tarweeds in North America. They are a highly endangered species and are very protected in their volcanic environments by conservation efforts.

Their leaves are covered with tiny silver hairs that reflect the intense sunlight and protect them from radiation at 10,000 feet above sea level. Their striking appearance is compared to a bouquet of shining swords. They can collect water from the snow storms that happen at the summit and store enough water in their leaves to survive the summer.

What makes these plants most awe-inspiring is that they live between 15-50 years, only bloom once in their lifetime, and then immediately die afterwords. It’s like they give thanks to the world and then prostrate themselves.

What a wonder of nature! I am so curious about how each plant knows when it’s their time to bloom… I wonder why some wait decades longer than others before unveiling what they have created inside. Very mysterious…

Their flowering is a spiraling rosette of 30 to 600 disk florets. The flowers are deep plum-colored and look very similar to their relative, the sunflower. These peculiar blooms can tower at over 8 feet tall!

The rare drosophila fly pollinator!

The plant starts drying up after it’s final bloom dies and then it turns into a skeleton. The good news is that a new baby Silversword can then rise up out of the husk of the dead plants. ☺️

I felt very honored to witness the rare flowering of some miraculous Silverswords on Mt. Haleakalā this past weekend.

All of my facts come from my very knowledgeable neighbor, Scott — a Naturalist who has worked protecting Silverswords on Haleakalā for over 20 years!

Writing and photography by: Katy Claire Funke

Sea of Dreams

When I wrap myself in the world you write
I can fall asleep for days.

Every word
washes me —
over, under,
rocking me
from sand to pearl-star.

And I know

it’s only
you,

the infinite ocean
I taste and crave.

It’s only you
who knows my dark
and glows my dreams this way.

Before I knew your poetry
or the sunset on your skin
it was the truth that shone
in your eyes of night
that I gave a kiss of no return.

And now I know
I left my soul
on the lips of endless sea
the lips that sing my sweetest dreams,

a song of

only

you.


Writing and photography by: Katy Claire Funke

Ocean Passions (Poems)

Ocean

I’m hypnotized by the rise and fall.
I try to match my breaths
in sync with the waves —
soak in sights, smells, tastes,
( galaxies… too vast )
the breeze on my neck
( too much ) .
I will sleep with just the thought of you.


Mermaid

Lost at sea,
sound or insane,
her compass only points to you.

You drown your navigation maps.

The North Star collapses
to a singularity of night
that pulls your boat inside her soul.

Light-years beyond
fathoms below.

( My heart gets tied to yours. )


Black sand beaches

Black sand beaches
line your mind
between the ocean and fantasy.

I find you
shipwrecked —
your eyes are tracing
the delicate edges of every wave;

brimmed with thirsting adorations
( your praise to waters
heavenly ) …

Tonight,
we do not fall from grace,

we dive

into the sea.


Harmony

On the breeze, your song
takes the breath of day :

The sun falls for the ocean.
A metronome slows to your strum

on a beach. Twilight blushes
in the shy of your smile —
pearl, half-moons
rising in my eyes;

a blossom of harmony
for the music that we write.

My voice warms
under your hands
like a wave
(a guitar’s body-shape)
that melts
to a sizzle of foam on the sand.

Writing and photography by: Katy Claire Funke

Into Thin Air

And that day
we hiked away from the forest —

the cling of moss and whispers of pines
shedding off of our skin
as we drifted up through alien shrublands.

We carried only our dreams
and each other’s sunburnt hands

as life diminished behind us :
green became silver

and the earth
was sacred —
stripped down to its essence
of basalt and iron silence.

We stepped into the procession of clouds,
leading to a lunar sanctuary in the sky

where there was only
the breath shared between us
and eternity.


Writing in the clouds 10,000 feet above sea-level today in the crater of the sacred House of the Sun: Mt. Haleakalā … ☁️☀️🌙🗻

The shining Silversword Plant found at the summit of Mt. Haleakalā and nowhere else on the planet!!
Mossy pines in Hosmer Grove, mid-way up to the summit.

I might still be lightheaded from this otherworldly journey… ✨ definitely more to come from it!

Writing and photography by: Katy Claire Funke