Saturday, December 08, 2007

548. Eruption: Pu`u Ō`o - Garrett Kaoru Hongo

We woke near midnight,
flicking on the coat closet’s bulb,
the rainforest chilled with mist,
a yellow swirl of gas
in the spill of light outside.
Stars paling, tucked high
in the sky’s blue jade,
we saw, through the back windows
and tops of ohi`a trees,
silhouettes and red showers
as if from Blake’s fires,
magenta and billows of black volleying.
Then, a burbling underground,
like rice steaming in the pot,
shook through chandeliers of fern
and the A-frame’s tambourine floor,
stirring the cats and chickens
from the crawl-space and their furled sleep.

The fountains rose to 900 feet that night,
without us near it, smoking white,
spitting from the cone 6 miles away,
a geyser of flame, pyramids and gyre of ash.
Novices, we dressed and drove out,
first to the crater rim, Uwēkahuna
a canyon and sea of ash and moonstone,
the hardened, grey back of Leviathan
steaming and venting, dormant under cloud-cover.
And then next down Volcano Road past the villages
to Hirano Store on Kīlauea’s long plateau
There, over canefield and the hardened lava land,
all we saw was in each other’s eyes ––
the mind’s fear and the heart’s delight,
running us this way and that.

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