voyage

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic
As a teenager I used to work in a pineapple factory in Hawaii and this poem occurred to me as I walked home one night from work...

Submitted: June 29, 2017

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Submitted: June 29, 2017

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At night I walk alone
In the hills near home
Watching the Honolulu lights
Gather towards the ocean
Like fireflies escaping land.
Then they are gone:
Lost in the expanse of Pacific darkness.
I rest against a wall
Covered by the white blossoms
Of night-blooming cereus:
A cactus whose flowers fear the sun.
 
Later I pass through an old Chinese graveyard,
Weed-covered, overgrown, stones askew.
Immigrant workers,
Sugar cane cutters, pineapple pickers,
Later shop and restaurant owners,
They voyaged across that watery abyss
Like seedlings to bloom here,
Promised land.
 
Only, to stay.  You cannot tell me why,
Tree, rock, wall, stars:
Immobile, aloof.
Inactivity was born inside of you,
Integral, genetic.
Even these epitaphs, with their frozen syllables,
Mere words and dates that sum up
An entire life,
Cannot speak to me.
 
So standing as if on shore
In the path of surging waves
I search for an ethereal ship
To swiftly carry me across.
To lands where we are known
By who we are to become,
Transformed by the voyage:
To lands where harvests are always plentiful,
Seen with eyes strong enough to stand
The burning of the sun.


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