Rain rolls in fits and starts down the runnels
of the grey metal roof, clinking onto metal strata,
bouncing off plywood placed just so
to prevent the elder Lab from setting teeth
to soil, who knows why, lately it’s his thing,
no harm, only odd in his well-provisioned world;

Coconut palm sways in gusts of wind and rain,
this Hawaiian winter, wetter than some,
bane to tourists failing to do their homework,
looking for sunshine while others count blessings
in relief of drought island-wide,
while a notable musician appears
in the local papers, cuffed in front,
long hair shorn, charged with aggravated assault,
unimaginable lascivious proclivities;

Now the flowers planted yesterday bow fragile crowns
against the deluge, doing what they must
until the tide turns, rays of sunlight peek out,
and they stretch their tiny heads toward it
as unpretentiously as ever, striving for nothing
but growth, always growth, until, unresisting,
their end draws nigh;

Meanwhile in the human world, drama looms madly
upon the stage, protagonists bemoaning or rejoicing
in what seems has turned tide to favor,
disappointed once more when nature inserts herself
into a well-orchestrated plan, forgetting, perhaps,
the entire universe awaits the upswing of baton,
drawing in of breath, shift in position, clearing
of throats, brief scratch of horsehair on gut,
as the miracle of collaboration clicks into place.


28 thoughts on “Orchestral

  1. Arrgh and so the world keeps on turning, rain falling, people making fools of themselves, and our animal friends.. Well maybe they too wish to be grounded..

    Happy New Year to you Bela from a frosty UK to a rainy Hawaii.. Wishing you a Blessed Happy, Harmonious One..
    Love Sue xxx

    1. Ah, yes – more on that (your first words), common thought waves permeating the WP ethers this morning (in comments by Shakti Ghosal and my response to him at the end of my last post’s comment thread). Perhaps grounding would be helpful, though I recall when young and clueless it was the last thing I wanted. And thus I suppose it is with many …

      Wishing you all the very best in this New Year – many bright blessings to you on your frosty island, as I sit huddled and holding the cold fingers of my left hand to facilitate finishing my comments to you 😉 One more blessed turn of the seasons on this beautiful Planet Earth ❤ Peace.

  2. Surely this beautiful poem is not suggesting that there is other than a passing shower in the islands! In any case, have you any idea how many of us would gladly trade our winter blahs for a rainy day in the land of coconuts? Never mind, dumb question.

    1. Haha Al, no. But it is funny that many tourists expect Hawaii to be like the Caribbean – it is not. We do have winter, and it does mean rain, often lots of it like this year, especially at higher elevations, but even at our house which is 300′ and close to the cliffs and ocean. Yet after 34 Maine winters, I know the deep freeze many have to endure, and I’m always grateful to live in this Paradise. Plus as a gardener? My trees are growing before my eyes – trees planted at 24″ are now 15′ and over, not 3 years later! And we have so many bananas nearly ripe that it’s going to be challenging giving them all away. They take forever to become ready, and then … profusion! Even pineapples which are not supposed to mature this time of year Are, as well as sun-loving figs. The soil here is unreal – but also not island-wide. We live in a rich zone, that way. Cheers, Al – and have a lovely start to your New Year!

      1. I absolutely believe you about the rain. Once on a tour of Kauai, we passed a mountain and the guide said the top of that mountain was the rainiest spot on earth. I’ve checked it out and some say a place in India is wetter. Doesn’t matter, it’s a helluva lot of rain either way!!

  3. I really love this last bit!

    “nature inserts herself
    into a well-orchestrated plan, forgetting, perhaps,
    the entire universe awaits the upswing of baton,
    drawing in of breath, shift in position, clearing
    of throats, brief scratch of horsehair on gut,
    while the miracle of collaboration clicks into place.”

    – esme nodding a great deal upon the Cloud ❤

  4. Hi Bela,

    If truth be told, I read your verse twice.Not because I had lost the import in my first reading. But really to savour the “mindfulness” the words and the phrases convey.For after all, mindfulness is ‘being in the moment’.

    Being in the moment is arguably the door to a contented existence. Contentment……. an oft used word but how many of us really understand its power? To me contentment is really all about being aligned and joined with all that is around me. All that over which I hold no power to change but fret about doing so.Contentment is really this wisdom……

    So, Bela, as you write such a post, do you see how blessed you are!


    1. Aloha Shakti: One thing I enjoy about writing poetry is that every word requires careful consideration, and economy of words is a lifelong practice for me, as you can well imagine 😉 Mindfulness is key.

      As to contentment, I agree with your definition. Happiness seems to me to be predicated upon things ‘going my way.’ Contentedness, on the other hand, is relaxing into what Is. Meeting reality on its own terms. In my college Psychology and Philosophy studies, I discovered it as well, in Phenomenology and Existentialism.

      Thanks as ever for stopping by. And yes, there is not a day that goes by – quite literally – that we do not express gratitude for our lives as they are, here on this beautiful island. ❤ So much to be grateful for!

  5. Bela, I love rain but this wintery rain can only be enjoyed from the window…taking me back into those lanes of memory when soaking in rain was thrilling, bringing instant joy. Your poem picks up some of the lovely sounds and I could almost hear them…they resonate more as it has been raining here too since morning! Love the harmony that your reflections can create, slowly drifting into nature and human nature! That is what creates the wow factor in this creation! 🙂

    1. Yes, Balroop, I would imagine you have seen some rains in your earlier life similar and perhaps exceeding what we’ve been getting here. I have been calling them monsoon rains, but it’s winter and cold as opposed to the warmth of the monsoons, no?

      I am happy this poem brought back treasured memories for you. On our last house renovation, we installed a shingled roof. This time and for this house, we kept the old aluminum roof from plantation days, as it’s still good and not leaking. It can be loud, however, so we insulated the ceiling above our bedroom so the downpours wouldn’t keep us awake intermittently at night, which they had been doing previously! But there’s no sound quite like rain on a metal roof 😉

      Thank you so much for your kind appraisal of my poetry’s cadence and intent. I love drawing parallels between the nature we observe and the nature that is human. As long as we’re in body, we cannot separate from it.

      Aloha ❤

  6. A really super piece of work, dear Bela, and I was struck by the contrasting words of the last lines of the third stanza and the opening lines of the fourth – how we cast ourselves dramatically into this operatic life against the sylvan background scenery of nature. And yes, the lines Esme remarks upon provide such a glorious finale. Encore! H ❤

    1. Mahalo, Hariod. I am thinking of writing more prose in this coming year, but it’s only come to me at the most inconvenient times, and I lose the thread by the time I get to my computer. So I presume it will come again …

      Always appreciate your praise, and glad you enjoyed the transition from nature to human nature, over again; your remark on that last stanza – I played in an orchestra for some years when I was younger (flute), but grew weary of the discipline I had already in abundance all around me since birth. That being said, tears still well up in my eyes when I witness the very thing I wrote about. And now Chris and I started watching Mozart in the Jungle on Amazon Prime just last night and all those memories come flooding back. So I guess orchestras are what are on my mind, these days! Such a feast for the senses, silvery lighting, polish on bodies of stringed instruments, the timbre of tympani, breath of woodwinds, warm glow of brass, tiny ivory-looking reed of the oboe … and then, praise the gods, the music! All a balm for the spirit when the human world seems wired for clatter …

      Love to you on this, yet another rainy day on these islands! Hope it finds you well. ❤

      1. Wow, you’ve got an oldie if it takes both wood and oil (?) I had one of those in a cabin on a lake – bought it in 1972 (took kerosene) … very basic, black cast, functional; then had (in another home on another lake) a lovely antique cream colored enamel woodstove with a nice sturdy shelf above six burners (two wood) and a double oven. Baked a lot of bread in that one … 😉 Brings back sweet memories … cold outside, though! xo

      2. Got one stashed away, thanks for the reminder – hard to wangle on my bicycle though, or in a madhouse retail store somewhere … No, I’ll trust the time will come. I can feel the muse river moving underground as we speak … 😉

      3. So beautiful – gotta love European craftstmanship – this is much fancier than the one I had, but I do remember the temperature gauge on the front – memories! And yes, mine had been converted to using only kerosene as well. Probably makes sense. I think the bigger one I had later might have had a fuel option at one time but my ex converted it to wood only. Sweet photo – longing for something that classy in our Hawaiian home, but it would only rust into oblivion :*(

      4. It is lovely! Just almost impossible to handle the shipping cost to Hawaii. I googled and can’t see any dealers in HI, unfortunately. Will bookmark it though, and keep it on my radar. Thanks for the tip! 🙂

  7. Modern life lacks that tonality that resonated with me when I first came to the USA in the 90s. Where have all the good people gone and why did they fail to teach their offsprings some goddamn manners??

    1. God knows. And I’ve lived here all my life (well, minus a dozen years on Hawaii islands, which does offset it a bit – this really isn’t the US mainland). I recently returned from Ireland and was stunned at the contrast between the two countries. I love the Irish! Not glued to their cellphones and devices; open and engaged on trains and in conversation. Flew back into Boston and holy cow – angry business conversations (in public places!), obsession over devices, business, rush, rush, drive, drive – I’ve lived in the countryside all my life and this was overwhelming to the senses. Couldn’t wait to get home. Aloha.

  8. I really like the free willy whale shot with this poem. Love seeing that splash of water all around its tail 🙂

    Once again, great poem and you fuse the elements of nature so well. The rain, coconut trees, flowers, all part of nature and they all co-exist side by side that is the wonderful orchestra of this world. The line that struck out at me was the flowers stretching out for nothing but for growth. It reminds me of living a life learning through opportunities that come your way and expecting nothing in return – how humble is that 🙂 And nature is indeed so humble about itself, though it really is very beautiful.

    “the miracle of collaboration clicks into place.” What will be, will be. There may be hard times and sometimes the orchestra can’t marry itself together and sound sweet. But good things take time to happen and always worth the wait.

    1. Haha, Free Willy! I took this shot off the stern of a boat recently – we see many whales when they come to the islands to have their babies.

      Thanks for your kind praise. And yes, the flowers simply growing, stretching heads toward the sun – not, as we are wont to do, *thinking* so much that it gets us in trouble! I, too love nature for its simplicity and humility. It’s a force to emulate, for sure. Thanks for sharing your reflections – always! Mabel. Have a great weekend! ❤

      1. Really does look like Free Willy 🙂 The best things in life lie in simplicity and humility and when we slow down. So many things to see there in Hawaii, not just the mountains and hills but also the whales in the ocean. A paradise that I hope to set foot on some day ❤

      2. Hope you do set your feet on these islands one day as well, Mabel. Hawaii is truly one of a kind. Only don’t visit Oahu/Honolulu like everyone else on the planet – dare to visit one of the other islands. They are all so different, but of course I prefer the Big Island where we live because there’s room to breathe and loads of natural wonders (volcano, snow-capped mountains in winter, stunning valleys and vistas). Anyhow, enjoy your upcoming week! 😀

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