Nourishing poems

Sometimes we stop and look around
in these high mountains climbed.

We think of all we were
and how much we’ve changed.

How we are no longer holding ourselves
tightly coiled
as fiddleheads,

but know
now
we can unfurl :

hearts open to the elements —
accepting
what is nourishing.

We carry and admire those
glistening raindrops :

each cherished memory
and lesson learned.

Wishing only
to love
as the miracle
of the fern.

Hiking Waihe’e Ridge Trail 6/13/2020

In abundance
of information
I become
impoverished
of the nourishing.

A benumbed machine
shifts around heaps
of matter in my mind.

Unending fragments,
forgotten in meaning,
clutter in corners of my soul.

While endlessly scrolling
through mixed-messages

words start overflowing —

I can’t sift through the madness.

When my hard drive sputters
and my bandwidth expires

all I can do
is start
cleaning my house.


Sometimes I need a break from social media and the news.

Photos from the Kula farmer’s market this weekend.

What is it that refreshes and nourishes your soul?

My favorite juice joint on Maui is Gypsy Juice. I don’t just like coming here because of the delicious drinks, but also because the girl who makes them is one of the kindest humans I have ever encountered. Talking with her is just as nourishing as her creations!💗

Writing and photography by: Katy Claire Funke

Responsibility

World Oceans Day 2020

I unravel
my apology
in her waves

and I ask
what I can do.

The moon pulls at the hem
of her blue dress
and her hands slip away
from mine.

She leaves
what she can no longer carry
on the sand :

The starving sea turtle
who ate too many
plastic jellyfish.

The poisoned octopus
offers me
just one
of his three
landfilled hearts

with his
dying wish:

“If you
won’t take it
who will?”


World Oceans Day became internationally recognized by the UN in 2008 and has been growing in popularity and participation every year since. The day was created to recognize the implementation of worldwide Sustainable Development Goals and to encourage public interest in caring for our oceans.

Living near an ocean is new to me, having lived most of my life in landlocked states like Idaho and Colorado. Before, my awareness of the detrimental effects of plastic pollution on our environment had always been in the back of my mind, but not something I took daily responsibility for. Now, having the privilege to visit the ocean regularly, this awareness has quickly moved to the front of my mind, as I’m reminded of the immediate and lasting impacts our waste has.

As we all know, this impact is especially true for our single-use plastics (water bottles, plastic straws, styrofoam take-out boxes, etc.) that are only useful to us for an average of 12 minutes, while it takes an estimated 400 years for these plastics to decompose. According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a garbage truck worth of these plastics are dumped into the ocean every minute, that is 5-13 million metric tons a year! They estimate that by 2050 the weight of plastics in the ocean will exceed the weight of fish in the ocean!

The particles from these plastics are unfortunately consumed by marine life, as they mistake the foreign objects for food. Sea turtles often mistake plastic bags as jellyfish and end up starving, never knowing they didn’t actually eat a jellyfish. Not to mention the toxins from these plastics are linked to a plethora of health problems for marine life and for us humans, who consume the fish.

This is a very daunting and troubling issue that is not going to be solved by just a few. To make a change we all need to do what we can, starting with just one simple thing in our lives. That could be bringing reusable bags to the grocery store, using a reusable water bottle, or refusing plastic straws at restaurants. The World Oceans Day website, as well as many others like Plastic Oceans have plenty of great resources and ideas on how we can do our part!

Writing and photography by: Katy Claire Funke

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

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

Synergy & Seal Haikus

Synergy

Before the coral reefs felt pain
and the oceans could speak English

we were as one,
the mountains and I,
as were
the sea lions
and constellations .

Before our spirits
could be sacrificed
for jewels and false images

we exhaled
with the ebbing tides
in waves combined of energies .

God made us
to participate
one body
and one spirit

when stars were space
and space was not
we were
a knitted ball:
immaculate .

Can our molecules remember
through our inner cracks in concrete
that our seeds were scattered to thrive ?

Can our hearts
break our molds
like the ancient banyan trees,

their root-woven wisdoms
still in our eyes ?

I am on a constant quest for Banyan trees these days. Such incredible wonders! I found this beauty on the grounds of the Maui Country Club today.

Seal Haikus

from today’s run-in with an adorable sea lion at Paia’s Ho’okipa Beach:

Splash me with your pearls!
Oh! Paint me like your French girls!
Sea, make art of me!

Waves can’t crash my scene!
Watch me worm and wobble ‘till
I collapse dance shores!

Writing & Photography by: Katy Claire Funke

Exquisitely Dressed / Haikus on the Beach

Exquisitely dressed are the shores
that hem the oceanic abyss:

cashmere sands are iced
in crystalline fishnet nylons

adorned are corsets
with bones of coral
and buttons
of tiffany blue diamonds

effervescent waters
still bubble up
beneath the foam-trimmed tulle

gowns of brackish satin
learn to let go
of their most treasured pearls

skirts of gelatin pirouette
their secrets laced in seaweed

embraced for love
of blue-dipped kisses
in the spring organza breeze

pressed in sands
are footprints
that danced
on jeweled bays

where the sea extends its tides
to gently clear the stage in waves

sweeping beaches slowly back
into a sacredness
of sapphire
depths

as the wind surfs aside couture
into clouds
soft-silken lilac

Haikus

Sun proposed a tan
my skin has yet to accept.
– Forever Pale Girl

The sparkling tides fill
my sight with Gatorade blue’s
quench for hopes renewed

Reflections of you
are seen in shadows by me
missing my best friend.

Writing & Photography by: Katy Claire Funke