Poem for Pele

We prepared ourselves to meet her

at the cliffs of Vahine Kapu

We stripped naked underneath the moon

to cleanse ourselves in her steam

Her breath was hot and humid

the wind whipped it around us

saturating us with her mist

as we stood before her red cave


In the sometimes icy cold

mostly warm and heavy

or intense and searing pain

We sweated and silently prayed

Tourist cars passed in the dark

none of them the wiser

This place of power, potent still

perpetually restored


We stood upon her mountaintop

and gazed upon her threshold

The endless sky glowed and fizzed

with stars familiar and unknown

Beyond our sight her presence felt

Terrible and Dreadful

A temple built without hands

One of the great sacred places of the world


Then we approached her

hair standing and skin trembling

Her radiance lit the sky

Plumes billowed in the air

Her sound disconcerting

the language of rock, fire and lava

The akua is home

who would dare to go near?


Pele, the lady of the volcano

Majestic, powerful, beautiful, fearsome

Purifying the land

even as she creates it anew


9 June 2014

Kawaihae, Hawai’i Island

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