Poliahu - by Frank Kawaikapuokalani Hewett

Wai maka o Poliahu
I ka `eha a ke aloha
Kaumaha i ka ha`alele
O Aiwohi kupua

Anuanu ka `iu kêhau
O Mauna Kea
A`ohe ana ipo aloha
E ho`o pumehana

Kau mai ka hali`a aloha
O ka wa mamua
Puolu ka wai o Nohi
Ku`u mehameha

He lei ko aloha
No ku`u kino
Pili poli hemo`ole
No na kau akau

E ho`i mai (e ho`i mai)
E ku`u ipo
E ho`i mai (e ho`i mai)
E pili kâua
E ho`i mai (e ho`i mai `oe)
E ho`i mai `oe e, e
E ho`i mai `oe
Frank Kawaikapuokalani Hewett
Tears of the snow goddess
And the pains of love
Sadden by separation
Of Aiwohi, the demi-god
Cold the sacred dew
Of Mauna Kea
And no one to love
And to warm
To enact memories of love
Of times gone by
Refresh the water of Nohi
And my loneliness
Your wreath of love
For my body
And bosom closed tied
Put in place forever
Come back to me
My sweetheart
Come back to me
As we embrace
Come back to me
Come back to me
Come back to me


Source: The 14th century legend of Lâ`ieikawai (Lâ`ie in the water) - Aiwohikupua, chief of Wailua, Kaua`i, was originally from Kahiki and vowed never to marry a Hawaiian woman. He heard of the beauty of Lâ`ieikawai and set out to find the sacred princess and propose marriage. He stopped at the harbor of Haneo`o in the Hâna district of Maui and met Hinaikamalama, the Hana chiefess. He was invited to join the surf riders and was smitten with the Hina. She, in turn, fell in love with him. Mindful of his quest and remembering his vow, he declared that he would not give himself to any woman until he traveled to the island of Hawai`i. He promised to return for Hina and asked her to remain faithful to him. Resuming his journey to find Lâ`ieikawai, he arrived at Paliuli with a feather mantle as a gift for the princess. Amazed by her house in Puna, thatched with the yellow feathers of the o`o bird, he was embarrassed by his gift, not equal to the roof of her hale. He left without seeing the princess and sailed for Kaua`i. Along the coast of Hâmâkua, he saw a woman of extraordinary beauty reclining on a cliff. He landed, made her aquaintance and spoke of love to the woman in a snow white mantle. She was Poliahu, the snow goddess of Mauna Kea and also of kupua (demigod or supernatural being) descent, like Aiwohi. She reminded him of his promise to marry Hina but, if he was released from his vow, he could return and she would marry him. They exchanged mantles and he continued on, avoiding Hâna and the chiefess who expected to become his wife. When he arrived home, his sisters agreed to accompany him to Hawai`i to plead Aiwohi’s case to win the hand of Lâ`ieikawai. Obsessed with her beauty, he again set sail for Hawai`i. Poliahu saw their canoes when they passed Ka`elehuluhulu, Kona, and was disappointed when they did not land. Aiwohi and his sisters went to Paliuli and as each sister presented his case, each was rejected by the princess. Hearing his rejection, Aiwohi returned home to Kaua`i and remembered Poliahu. He began expiatory rites to release him from his engagement to the chiefess of Hâna, and sent his messengers to Poliahu asking her to prepare for his return and their wedding. Preparations were begun and Aiwohi promised to arrive in 4 months. On the day of Kulu (17th day), in the appointed month, the 3 mountains (Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, Hualalai) were covered with snow, the sign promised by Poliahu. Aiwohi arrived at Waiulaula and was greeted by his bride-to-be and the other snow goddesses of the mountains, Lîlînoe, Waiau and Kahoupokane. After their marriage, the couple sailed to Kaua`i and made their home above Honopuwai. When Hina learned of the wedding of her betrothed, she was enraged and went to Kaua`i to confront her lover. The chiefs were gathered at Mânâ for a celebration where Hina accused Aiwohi of unfaithfulness. Aiwohi’s conduct was condemned. Humilated, Poliahu returned to Mauna Kea and Aiwohi agreed to fulfill his promise to Hina. The night of their marriage, Poliahu sent the chill of her snow mantle to cover her rival with intense cold. Whenever Hina and Aiwohi tried to be together, Poliahu would send the intense cold of her snow mantle. Frightened, Hina returned to Hâna without Aiwohi and their marriage was never consumated. Poliahu remained at Mauna Kea, brokenhearted. Translated by Henry Kaalekahi.