Whitecapped waters toss barges about

in the dark of the Alenuihaha

as if they are toys.

Listing on massive sides,

chained to tugs; no intrinsic

momentum of their own.


Each night I watch as they roll –

dumb weighted things

pitching along to another destination.

Scarred containers stacked perilously,

one atop the other; strange multilayered

wedding cakes on water.


This is how it is,

here on Hawaii Island; all these islands.

Quietly we garden, grow our food,

live our lives.

Still, we shop in stores – searching

for bargains essential to shelter, mobility,



What would happen, then, if just

one receptacle, replete with precious cargo,

skidded free; bobbed clumsily before sinking

deep into the drink?

(I’m sure it’s happened before.)


Mainlanders don’t know, they on their

bigger island do not consider.

And why would they?

Lost to the world outside their door,

not hugging the sea.

As are we.


~ bj



2 thoughts on “Whitewater

  1. Dear Bela,

    Interesting verse and, if I may daresay, a wee bit unlike you.( Well that is my perception from what I know of your writings)

    The verses signify the peace and harmony with the environment.If there be even the slightest strain, you have captured that beautifully through your use of the word, ” Whimsy”.Why is it then that I sense an underlying current of animosity and anger towards the end?



    1. Shakti, this was just a way to wrap with some poetic license. That being said, I’ve got anger just like the next person, mostly with regards to social injustice, but in this case, “not.”

      It’s strange, living on an island of this size, the things one notices. Barges coming in; going out. This is the only way most of us maintain our lifestyle here. It’s just a wake-up call. I don’t think most people notice it, really. Our first house here overlooked the wide ocean, where I wrote this poem. I would literally wake up some mornings just to watch the barges pitching and rolling in the winter surf, contemplating such things as this.

      Of course mainland life rarely causes one’s thoughts to wander in that direction, especially the further inland one resides. What is needed is purchased in stores, that’s all. I’ve always grown a garden, but the wheelbarrow, the hoe, rake and spade are all purchased and brought to stores by trucks loaded with containers from portside. The car I drive to load such merchandise; the food staples, even when I grind my own flours, etc.

      So my ending is a passionate response, perhaps, but not angry. “Surprise at what’s obvious” may describe it best!



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