Never to be the same . . .

In 2005, we rented a vacation home on the Big Island. Our back yard included an ocean inlet to Champagne Pond where at low tide, we swam with glorious sea turtles.

Our most amazing adventure was a lava hike, climbing over fields of hardened basalt. Eventually we came upon fissures where hot lava pooled, spit, hissed, bubbled and oozed ever so slowly. Using flashlights on the return walk, lava glowed red-orange in the distance, as if a jack-o-lantern was lit across the horizon. We also hiked across a caldera, over “waves” of Pele’s hair. We found a small delicate fern peeking out of a crevice. Hawaiian breezes deposit plant life in nooks and crannies. Life reappears in the midst of desolation.

Pele’s anger erupted violently in 2018. Kilauea spewed plumes 12,000 to 30,000 feet high. Fissures burst open. Lava flows destroyed over 700 homes. Lagoon House: A Piece of Paradise, the vacation home so many people enjoyed over the years, was entombed in thirty feet of boiling lava, which eventually cooled to impenetrable basalt. As the owner wrote, the coastline is forever changed. I wonder, how long it will be before a single fern, and then a tree, and then a grove of trees take root. Will the memory of Pele’s reckoning disappear? Will humans be enticed to rebuild what was once called Leilani Estates – and is that even possible?

I look at photos
housebound during Covid spring ~
Pele sleeps again

* Pele is the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes.

Day 22: National Poetry Writing Month. Toads asks us to choose one of four given quotations to motivate our poem of any form.  I wrote a a haibun.

Photos from June 2005 trip with our children to Hawaii’s Big Island. Our guided lava hike across Kilauea, at the time, the longest continuously active volcano in the world, now seems ridiculously dangerous and foolish – given the horrific occurrence in December 2019 at New Zealand’s White Island.

In the first photo, I’m waving goodbye to the incredibly beautiful back yard at our vacation rental, the night before we returned home. Little did I know that 13+ years later, this scene would be nonexistent.

QUOTATION USED TO MOTIVATE POST:  “A fresh and vigorous weed, always renewed and renewing, it will cut its wondrous way through rubbish and rubble.” William Jay Smith


We hiked across lava fields
steam rising in the distance.
Kilahuea, birthing new shoreline,
slowly spilling into the sea.

Lagoon House was our delight
on beautiful Kapoho Beach.
Delerious with plumeria’s scent,
we swam wth sea turtles oh so close,
in nearby Champagne Pond.

No longer content with shoreline,
Kilahuea’s temper rose.
Eruptions spewed farther, fiercer,
gave birth to graveyards deep.

Solidified lava, fifty-feet thick,
buried that beloved place.
Homes gone. Plumeria gone.
Pele, Kapoho’s sole resident,
silent in her new abode.

Photos from our stay at the Lagoon House in 2001. That’s me floating/snorkeling in Champagne pond, just beyond the house. We really did swim with the sea turtles there. And we took our children and their spouses on a lava walk tour — obviously Kilahuea was very tame then – although it was HOT and hissing and the hardened lava was very sharp.


Kilahuea’s angry eruption in 2018 and the result today. The beautiful home we stayed in, and that entire area, is now covered by fifty-feet of lava. The last photo is a rendering of Pele, the goddess of volcanoes.

Thank you Amaya for our dVerse Tuesday Poetics prompt — to address “birthing” in some way.

Champagne Pond on the Big Island

First time in another world,
a magical low-tide place.

Barrier reef, bared each day,
encloses wandering sea turtles.

Alone at dawn, I smile as rounded gentle heads
break the surface, breathe, and disappear.

Stepping gingerly from dividing ledge
I ease myself into cool waters.

Push off, arms spread wide in wonder
head down with snorkel gear.

I float. Watching. Waiting . . .
in this absolutely quiet place.

Magnificent beings glide by,
slow motion ballet of graceful power.

Heads and legs, speckled green-browns,
protrude from massive solid backs.

Finning wide of me, angling below me
as if I am not there, yet I am. Mesmerized.

Occasionally one peers at me,
our eyes lock and I gasp within my soul.

I am afloat, savoring stillness,
experiencing a mystical time.

Kelly hosts Poetics today at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, and asks us to write a narrative poem about a “first.”  Photos: the “back yard” of a rental house we stayed at three times in Hawaii, the Big Island. Out of the way, it has its own “pool” of tropical fish, the body of water at the bottom of this photo.  Dug by the owners, it has a wire mesh grate that allows the ocean in and out but keeps the amazing tropical fish they’ve stocked it with, within the pool. Snorkeling there was amazing too. I’m standing greeting the dawn…and the next body of water you see is what’s called Champagne Pond which snakes back, for quite some distance on the left, out of sight. You barely see the pile of rocks/barrier, exposed at low tide, separating the pond from the ocean proper. Two small photos, I took with a cheap, throw-away underwater camera. Large one is a postcard. We’ve not been back for many years but it is a “first” I shall never forget.


Thick viscous red-orange glows
slowly oozes over blackened fissures,
moonlight its only witness.

Pele’s tresses lengthen in waves
undulate, hiss, bubble heat
flow surely, but slowly, angry not.

Ancestral guardian hesitant to erupt
she lives, breathes forward warning
all shall be buried in quiet wakefulness.

Photo: from our lava walk on the Big Island in Hawaii. We walked on Kilauea — it is still continually and slowly flowing, adding land mass. Pele is the Fire Goddess and considered creater of the Hawaiian Islands. Her flows create her hair, smooth waves of hardened lava. Late to the party — I am postint to Open Link Night at dVerse Poet’s Pub.