NOTES ON BREEZE
Sitting on a beach in Kailua at sunset, I was impressed by how far the wind had come to nudge the palms a bit for my entertainment. Was this the end of wind? Do the trees tremble just for us? Although the breeze continues into windows and on across the ages, working its wonders for new generations of gaping children, it certainly seems to do nothing quite as romantic as rustling arekas. I thought that it really does worse and better things; it carries the cycle of life and death, it foments tsunamis, melts ice shelves, publishes the struggles of mankind to the corners of the earth. But it also flickers the torches as it did when I went to my first luau when I was fifteen, on the beach in Waikiki, a touristy thing no doubt, but there was a pretty girl (hello, Cathy Clark from Mercer Island) and a sunset, and it was about the most exotic thing I had ever seen.
In equally naive measure, I thought that I also had come through the tragedies and windless nights of my life, across the years and across the Pacific to watch the simple magic of air touch the fronds. And it was enough. it was the culmination of everything I had hoped life would be when I was fifteen. It was completely fulfilling. It involved a few machinations in the wings, of course, not just the breeze. Being able to interest my one true love in my fetish with such phenomena, entice her to the tropics, buy a house with her, all, again, that we might sit on the beach and hear that same rustling in the palms as I had at the luau. And it worked. It was still there, and it was more inexplicable than ever.
So here it is, a poet’s progress through time to senility. What made me tremble as a child still makes me tremble, and it is what poetry does, I hope: photograph wonders, and then submit future generations to a drowsy slideshow.
My ideas was to let the rhyme break out spontaneously inside phrases, not concentrate on it, just to let it rattle like fronds. A little rearranging was possible, to put the punch in the right place, and make sure the torches shone on the sand. But I can never do such things without the passion pushing me. I can’t go back to it mechanically and use the mind. It has to be the heart.