Places that Once Were

I never knew why he looked so sad.
Though I did know he wasn’t happy
when speaking of places
that once were.

It was more than sadness
–it was nostalgia.
He would point out the car window,
telling us what a particular place
or building used to be.

“Before, neva have all dis houses.
Used to be one big park.”

I knew when I was invited
to pose a question
but most of the time
I was simply expected
to listen.

And I did.

“Why they no more da pond no more?
‘Cause tings change.
Da people wit planny money buy ‘em and build stuff.
It’s all about money, bebe.”

And even if you’re gone, Dad
Some things never change.

Talk story

  1. HAKEN says:

    Don’t you wish sometimes that you could see how Hawai’i was like a generations or two ago?

    Great poem. Keep them coming.

  2. AVAJADE7 says:

    Even with all the stories told to me, it is hard to imagine what Hawai’i was like then. It’s even more difficult to imagine what Hawai’i will be like a generation or two from now. But, we can keep Hawai’i alive with words! At least no one can take that away. =)

  3. DARREL says:

    The funny thing is that this is more than nostalgia. It’s about a special relationship beyond how tings were "before time." And of course, what’s interesting is how our memory works in the telling and retelling of our stories.

  4. AVAJADE7 says:

    Thanks for the comment Darrel. You are absolutely right. There isn’t really a word to describe the relationship he felt with the land or the look I used to see in his eyes. I have yet to truly understand it. That’s why I love all of Bamboo Ridge’s works!

  5. STEFAN says:

    I had come from Germany to Hawaii in 1994 and lived there for a while. Meeting Hawaiians with a strong relationship to their land – a sense of belonging – finally made me understand what it was like for my grandparents when they had to leave their homelands in Eastern Europe during the 2nd world war and never could return. There is a root between people and the land – or their should be. People who are "uprooted" also tend to loose their values – or invent dangerously artificial ones. That is something going on across the globe.

    Beautiful poem, Ava. And greetings from Westfalia, Germany.

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