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Ho‘okulu Lani i ka Pewa a Hā‘ula

Kaleohinihini Mokulana

A chant for greeting the sun and journeying with it into the day. The poet provides us with the following explanation: "This mele uses the word pewa—with its dual meanings of "pre-dawn darkness" and "fish tail"—to describe the arrival of morning in terms of the gradual spreading into the night sky of a fishtail of light. At first, morning slowly ‘leaks’ into darkness and forms the faintest wedge of indistinct reds. Then the tail gains definition, grows, and gives way to a yellow-streaked gill fin. Finally, the emerging fish—from gill fin to tail—is consumed, like an offering, in the blazing fire of daybreak. The mele then calls for the entrance, with the sun, of sacredness, knowledge, unity, and well-being. It does so by alluding to the Kailua-O‘ahu legend of the fish-swarm led by Kahinihini‘ula and his lā‘au pi‘i ona a ka i‘a, the Mākālei. Empowered by the knowledge of his ancestress Haumea, the boy waves his magic branch over the water at Kawainui pond. The thriving multitude gathers before him and then follows in procession as he leads it home to the spring-fed pool of Hālauwai. The mele ends when Pa‘akonia (Held-fast trembling—a poetic name for the Mākālei) has been firmly established at Waialoha (Water of love—a poetic name for Hālauwai). All, then, is well. We enter with the sun, proceed in harmony, and arrive at a place blessed with life and love."

Ho‘okulu lani i ka pewa a hā‘ula
‘O ka pewa o ka i‘a maha halo lena
Unouno‘o ‘ena i ka mano hili kapu.
Ka‘i mai pupupu, ka‘i mai e ulu
Ka‘i ‘āuna i ka wai i Hālauwai
I Waialoha nō ‘o Pa‘akonia. 

The heavens leak red light into night’s darkness
Now it is the tail of a yellow gilled fish
Now it burns with light, consumed by sacredness.
Enter in multitudes, enter and flourish
Move in company to the pool at Hālauwai
At Waialoha, indeed, is Pa‘akonia.


© Kaleohinihini Mokulana 2002