Rainy Poems

Dreary
Chilly
Slanted
Saddened
Weeping
Showered
Drenched
Drizzled
Scattered
Colored
Unexpected
Misted
Nourished
Fragrant
Beloved
Rain.

The Hawaiian language has over 200 different names for rain. The breadth of these names describe the form and qualities of each type, as well as the specific times and regions of the islands these rains can be found. The Hawaiian culture recognizes rain not only as an integral part of survival, but also as a friend and spiritual guide. To talk about the rain is much more than small-talk in Hawaii, it is a conversation and language in itself. The physical intricacies of rain color parts of your day and life differently and help to understand the depths of others. Hawaiian ancestors trusted the different rains to determine when to plant specific crops, fish, harvest, and so much more. Most of us have lost so much of our connection to the land. I can only hope to notice and welcome more of these sacred, rainy visitors.


Haikus

1. My love is the rain
Soaking through the sheet of night
Time folds into sky

2. Gardens refresh us
Flowers are forms of water
Our souls drink the rain


The rain dripped down
the faces of leaves
then tapped unbreaking
a dance in the streets.

We laughed in gleams
shone brighter in night
to finally feel climate
that sung us alive.


Afternoon rain in Wailuku, HI 5/31/2020

In Hawaiian poetry mentions of rain or rains may signify joy, life, growth, greenery, love, good fortune (light rains, mist), grief, sorrow, and tears (heavy rains), the presence of gods or royalty, sex, beauty or hardship.

Some of my favorite Hawaiian rain types:

  • kili, much beloved rain
  • ko’iawe, light moving rain
  • ua nāulu, showery rain
  • ua lani pili, rain downpour
  • ua ho’okina, continuous rain
  • ua hikiki’i, slanting rain
  • ililani, unexpected rain
  • uakoko, rainbow-hued rain
  • Lēhei, leaping rain of upcountry Maui
  • kuāua hope, spring rain
  • ka ua ‘awa, grieving rain
  • ʻeleua, dark rain
  • kuāua, hopeful rain
  • ehu, fine spray rain
  • Lani-paʻina, crackling heavens rain
  • ʻUla-lena, invigorating, yellow & red rain of Maui
  • Mololani, well-kept rain of the Lehua flower & Ohia tree
Writing & Photography by: Katy Claire Funke

W.S Merwin

W.S. Merwin, was a beloved poet and conservationist who lived in near-solitude in Haiku on Maui from 1970 until his death in 2019. His work was highly influenced by his passion for restoration of depleted flora and his connection to the elements on the island. I am looking forward to visiting his plantation soon where he restored hundreds of species of palms.

Merwin wrote several beautiful rain poems. Here is one of my favorites of his:

Rain Travel

I wake in the dark and remember
it is the morning when I must start
by myself on the journey
I lie listening to the black hour
before dawn and you are
still asleep beside me while
around us the trees full of night lean
hushed in their dream that bears
us up asleep and awake then I hear
drops falling one by one into
the sightless leaves and I
do not know when they began but
all at once there is no sound but rain
and the stream below us roaring
away into the rushing darkness


- W.S. Merwin

Watercolors

In the twilight we marvel
at this watercolored world.

Our eyes, a blend
with the marbled sea
and the sky’s pearlescent peach.

I try to outline the horizon,

but in dampened air
my pen just bleeds.

The sea breeze paints us
soft and blue
as we slip into the mist.

We share a sacred
intimacy —

within our souls
our time exists.

( The strokes we make
defining depths
just cause more drips
and swell the canvas. )

So instead,

we swim
in azure and ink

admiring
how every artist

paints love

so differently.


Writing & Photography by: Katy Claire Funke

Just Romance

short poems

Spring

Spring danced carefully…
then,
goodness,
it didn’t
when summer leapt reckless
and kissed every season!


and then you say

and then you say,

I know everything about you.
Just think of me as your diary

and I smile —
start leafing through your pages,

showing you every word

you’ve written

and then I write
your name
a hundred times
on your arms

and wrap myself up in them.


About you

… about you?

Oh, I could tell you
all day
how I feel

like this way
& this way

or maybe … this way

& this way …

but I’d rather not tell anymore

let me show


Writing and photography by: Katy Claire Funke

He is

He is
the river’s
soft and steady rhythm
holding me by firelight.

The moonlit promise
of the ocean’s
stormy kiss of life.

He is:
The love song of the sun.
The crimsoning of night.
The eyes of valor
and grace that saves you,

and every poem rain could write.

He is
the hum of heartache
orbiting
the planets
and trees at dawn;

the painted dreams,
unheard,
unseen —
the breaths within the song.

He is:
The journey worth your while.
The bursting of your heart.
The touching of all scars
and forgetting of all time.

He is
He is

What it means to be alive.


Writing & Photography by: Katy Claire Funke

Orchids

My heart bleeds flowers.

Today, most overwhelmingly, with

The Orchid :

one which can be
so easily
overwhelmed;

needing everything in her life to be
just so :

romantic in her lighting
– diffused or moonlit

exotic in hydration
– luke-warm and delicate .

In the air she thrives,
( as she’ll swell
with stems in soil. )

Like a serpent,
she resorts up trees,
roots coiled.

She’s unafraid to wilt
and adapt to new homes,

with patience
she blooms :

her secret alone .


I have been so fascinated with orchids and their temperamental nature recently. There are a lot of differing opinions on how to properly care for these finicky blooms, especially on the topic of watering. I always heard that you should use ice cubes, but others say the trick is to temporarily submerge the roots in luke-warm water. Now that I see orchids more in their natural tropical environment, the latter makes more sense with the warm rainforest the flowers thrive in. But, I have also heard that every orchid is different and requiring special care.


Petal on a string

Like a petal on a string,
a feather on the air,
I glided to
you —

to your poetry
of stars :

written
in the night

dancing
in your eyes;

they fell
into the shadows
in the corners
of mine.

Though the day
will turn dreams
away
like Orpheus,

won’t you stay here for now
and hold me in the darkness?

Writing and Photography by: Katy Claire Funke

The Pageant

Maui held a beauty pageant
for the plants on the island’s stage …

First up was the talent portion

The Palm Tree did the hula,
the Hibiscus danced ballet,
but it was the Trumpet Vine
who wooed the crowed
with her jazzy serenade.

Next up was the evening wear

The gowns were rich in pines and petals
from the Norfolk and the Orchid,
but to the Bougainvillea
and her ruffled florals —
the blue ribbon was awarded.

Then there came the on-stage question

The Fox Tail and the Lobster Claw
didn’t have much to say,
but the Bird of Paradise won, wings-down,
with her passion for civil rights day.

Awards would start with specialties …

Of course, Photogenic, went to Belladonna,
she thought she’d win Congeniality,
but that went to the kind Plumeria
(Belladonna had no personality).

And then there was the final moment;
the title holders announced

The first runner up was the Ginger Plant
with her spicy need for the spotlight
but the crown went to the Pineapple,
for her sweetest beauty laid inside.


Writing and Photography By: Katy Claire Funke

This month officially marks 10 years since I entered the world of pageants. I won the title of Miss Idaho’s Outstanding Teen through the Miss America Organization in 2010. It was one of the most life-changing moments for me and I still reap the benefits from the skills I gained through my pageant experience. Even though pageants get a bad rap (and don’t get me wrong, they definitely do have some not so pretty aspects), I can say, without a doubt, that the people I personally worked with: my state directors, fellow contestants, and title holders, are still some of the most remarkable women I have ever encountered. I earned a great deal of scholarships through the Miss America Organization to go toward my college education and so many unforgettable experiences that I will always be grateful for.

A moment in the sunrise

I try to never miss a sunrise

to paint my intentions
within a landscape
completely indifferent
to me.

I can seamlessly slip
through the
spiderwebbed cracks
on my little patio

and into the sunlit glow
of a sacred space,

exhaling my prayers
and wildflower hopes
to breathe in peace
made with the day’s
groundlessness;

understanding
the unknowings
and embracing
the chance of showers
through the answers
of Saint Honesty.

I know if I unfurl today
I can wrap myself back up into
our shared sky of peach blossoms
and watch the egret take flight
from its canvas of polished reeds.

It’s here that I find harmony
within an impossible opalescent
distance,

while sipping slowly
at the therapies
of our secret garden …

and for just our moment

gravity shifts
miles into
inches

and I can trace over the ocean
until i find your
fingertips:

like a soft morning kiss .

Bonus Morning #Haikus

Dalí melts the clocks
The sun rises in your eyes
Wind sails to your seas

__________________________

Monet sent lilies
to make a good impression
on his best painting

Claude Monet, 1914, The Waterlilies: Morning

Writing & Photography by: Katy Claire Funke

I fell in love with Poetry

A love story #prose #poetry

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment
when I fell in love with Poetry.

Somewhere between the summer nights
and the carelessness of his hair.

Of course, he was a musician with this
hypnotizing rhythm and a smile like Chardonnay.

Just the way that he knocked at my door that autumn day …
I must have known for certain that I’d never be the same.

How he waltzed right up to me and took me by the hand.
How he whispered, we should dance
and I felt so silly, only knowing a few steps
like the haiku shuffle, and the iambic slide —
but oh, the way he held me, right then I could have died!

All of it is beautiful, he said, because it’s you.
I swooned into his smooth talk, but deep down always knew
that my rhymes about my dog were only child’s play,
while a masterpiece he was, (but good heavens, still I blushed!)

On our very first date we hiked up into the forest—
and no, he wasn’t wealthy, but was richer than the royals
when he showed me all the jewels hidden, muted in my world,
and he listened ever gently to all my heart had to say.

To hear it as he did was like dining at the Ritz.
As never had I seen the sky in such divine array
in a morning glory apricot.

And music — how it just lit up like candlelight!

And all the late-night drives… where was he taking me?
A coral beach at sunrise? Floating on the sea?
Somewhere down the way to a love, complex and deep?
I swear the way he knew me was like I’d known him all my life .

But my dear, he was a heartbreaker…
He showed me what it was to cry through all the pain —
oh, the pain! His pain, my pain — it was all the same.
An unanticipated turn into a ping-pong game;
ending in a knock-down-drag-out fight within myself
pinned into a corner. I had to write to get me out.

Impassioned in our nights and exposed in all my scars
that he kissed and turned to stars while we held each other tight.
We forgave and fell asleep, only knowing I’d awake as a new unburdened day
finding beauty ever steady than it was in yesterday.

On my journey never knowing where all of this would land,
but always being thankful for the journey he began.

Writing & Photography By: Katy Claire Funke

May Day is Lei Day!

May first is the celebrated Lei Day throughout the Hawaiian islands, dedicated to the beautiful tradition of making and wearing lei.

The holiday was started May 1st, 1928, after the famous poet, Don Blanding, (AKA the “poet laureate of Hawaii”) suggested a special day be made to honor the spirit of aloha, which is best embodied in the lei tradition.

Lei Day is usually full of celebratory events throughout the community which include live music, food, hula dancing, and lei contests. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, none of these gatherings were able to take place this year. However, kama’aina (Hawaii residents) were encouraged to make their lei at home and share their creations by hanging them on their mailboxes or taking photos.

Hawaii is well known for its “Spirit of Aloha,” which is a way of life on the islands. Being a new resident and having only visited here before now, I have been very curious about what exactly aloha means to the people who live here. We all associate the word with hello, goodbye or love, but what it means to natives goes much deeper.

The direct translation of aloha from Hawaiian to English is presence of divine breath. Hawaiians used to greet each other by placing their foreheads together and inhaling at the same time as a practice to exchange good health and spiritual power. Today, this practice is very rare and the spirit of aloha is shown in other ways. Aloha is the essence of being: love, peace, compassion and respect, living in harmony with the people and the land. It is all about caring for one another without expecting anything in return.

The lei is a symbol of affection representing aloha, given to those coming and leaving Hawaii. Leis are usually strung fresh flowers, shells, nuts, leaves and berries, but can be made of a variety of materials.

Here is my poem for my first Lei Day:


Spirit of Aloha

To wear such words
(such masterpiece)

though one may not assume
to be in tenderest of messages—
intricately woven
of berries and blooms :

A harmony
of understanding

A breath sent
from me to you

A greeting
of deeper meaning

between
mayflowers
who always knew
. . .

To be revealed within
the gauze of rainbow
in prismatic kindness

the Aloha Spirit
shines its colors
through the veils
of silvered mist


And my lovely he’e berry lei along with a bonus May Day rainbow outside the kitchen window!

Since day one I have felt this aloha spirit and been blessed to be welcomed into the community. Despite all the chaos with COVID-19 neighbors are always checking in on me, having me over for dinner and helping me get acquainted with the island. It has been a crazy time of adjustments, especially during these unprecedented times, but having aloha has helped immensely.

Writing and photography By: Katy Claire Funke