From Songs of the Islands (2005)

A gift of years: one small seed.
Winds from other shores
tossed down,
and zephyrs buried life beneath dust.

Waiting there,
eagerness sprouts from barrenness,
choice from indecision,
boldness from the fleeting fear
of all the crumbling earth.

Persistence, silversword:
grip mountain stones,
decades drinking mist
and eating volcanic rock.

Sun and snow and heat and wind.

Tender leaves widening their
strength of will,
then flowering, dying,
passing breath of ice on summer slopes,
melting away.

About silverswords: Silverswords (‘ahinahina in Hawaiian) are plants that grow on the upper slopes of only two mountains: Haleakala volcano on the island of Maui and Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii. After a lifespan of decades, the silversword creates a single tall flower stalk, releases seeds, and dies. The photo above shows a silversword that has finished its life surrounded by all the new, young silverswords it birthed. Click here to see more photos of silverswords.

Composed July 19, 2005 by Mark Feezell /
Included in Feezell’s poetry collection Songs of the Islands (2005)
Dedicated to the Public Domain (CC0 1.0) 2024

Download as an RTF file.

Image: Silverswords on Haleakala (IMG_0110)

poetry, Songs of the Islands (2005)

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